Use This Framework If You’re Thinking About Going (Back) to College (DF#104)
The episode discusses the decision to go to college or go back to college, emphasizing the importance of making an informed decision. It explores the financial realities of college, highlighting the high cost and potential downsides. The episode also delves into the personal experience of someone considering going back to college and the considerations involved. It suggests alternative pathways to college and introduces the five-degree free pathways framework. Overall, the episode aims to provide insights and options for individuals navigating the decision of pursuing higher education.
College is not a guarantee
A college degree does not guarantee a job or higher pay. Potential benefits like better job prospects and higher pay are not guaranteed.
Purchasing a college degree should be seen as a financial decision. The cost of college is significant, both in terms of money and time. There are alternative ways to improve one's life with the money spent on a degree.
The speaker shares their personal experience of considering going back to college for a specific field but ultimately deciding against it due to cost and uncertainty.
Before going to college, it is recommended to explore part-time jobs or internships in the desired field. College should be the last resort, and alternative pathways are available.
The five-degree free pathways
The episode introduces the five-degree free pathways framework as an alternative to traditional college education.
- The Decision to Go to College
- The Financial Realities of College
- The Financial Decision of College
- Personal Experience and Considerations
- Considering Alternatives to College
- The Five-Degree Free Pathways
The Decision to Go to College
00:00 - 07:01
- A college degree does not guarantee a job or higher pay.
- The podcast hosts discuss the decision of going to college or going back to college.
- They emphasize the importance of making an informed decision.
- Potential benefits of getting a degree, such as better job prospects and higher pay, are not guaranteed.
- The marketing around college targets those who have never been to college before and don't know what to expect.
- Even people with degrees may feel compelled to go back due to various reasons like feeling underqualified or wanting further advancement in their careers.
- Getting another degree in the same field may not significantly increase chances of finding work in that area.
- The only guarantee with college is the cost - both in terms of money and time.
The Financial Realities of College
06:33 - 13:32
- Getting an advanced degree in the same area you're not working in doesn't increase your chances of getting into that field.
- Colleges sell hopes and dreams, convincing people that buying from them again will lead to success.
- View the decision to go back to school as a purchase decision and consider the guaranteed downside.
- On average, it takes five and a half years and $165,000 to graduate from college.
- If you just went to work instead of going to college, your finances would improve.
- The median salary for a college graduate is $47k, but you'll go into debt to make that amount.
- Consider what else you could do with the money spent on a college degree.
- Going to college is not a one-time purchase decision; it's made year after year.
The Financial Decision of College
13:04 - 19:20
- Purchasing a college degree should be seen as a financial decision, not just an educational one.
- Americans often overlook the fact that buying a college degree is the largest financial purchase they will make in their lifetime.
- Going to college involves making year after year and semester after semester purchase decisions.
- Evaluating the cost of college on a lump sum basis can help people realize the magnitude of the expense.
- With the money spent on a college degree, there are many other ways to improve one's life, such as traveling, learning new skills, saving for retirement, or buying a house.
- The time spent in college is also significant - five and a half years of one's life dedicated solely to being a student.
- Many students do not work while in college, which adds to their financial burden and increases their borrowing from themselves.
- College lifestyle often leads to lifestyle inflation and spending habits that are difficult to unlearn once entering the real world with lower income levels.
Personal Experience and Considerations
19:02 - 25:20
- People often struggle with low-paying jobs and student loan debt after college.
- The podcast aims to educate listeners about alternative options to improve their situations.
- The speaker shares their personal experience of feeling lost and deciding to go back to college for a mechanical engineering degree.
- They were attracted to the idea of working on animatronics and bringing magic to people's lives through engineering.
- However, they realized that pursuing this path would require additional steps like apprenticeships or internships, which they were unsure how to obtain.
- They ultimately decided against going back to college due to the high cost and uncertainty surrounding the job prospects in that field.
Considering Alternatives to College
25:00 - 31:33
- When considering going back to school, it's important to analyze your current life situation and responsibilities.
- College should be the last resort due to its high cost in time, money, resources, and mental energy.
- Before going to college, it is recommended to explore part-time jobs or internships in your desired field to test if it's a good fit for you.
- For example, instead of going to college for animatronics engineering, one could have tried getting a job at Disney or Universal working on maintenance tech for animatronics.
- There are campuses off the parks where these things are designed called Imagineers.
- Going to college is risky because it takes a long time and costs a lot of money. It should only be pursued when you're sure after testing other options.
- If you've decided not to go back to college, there are alternative pathways available through Degree Free.
The Five-Degree Free Pathways
31:05 - 32:46
- For most people who don't have careers requiring a college degree, the advice to do anything is not helpful.
- Hannah and I have created a framework called the five-degree free pathways to help people in their current situation.
- To learn more about the five-degree free pathways, check out another episode or visit degreefree.co/pathways for a free course.
- There are options other than paying $165,000 over 5 and a half years for college.
- To get more information on alternatives to college and how to get hired, sign up for the free weekly newsletter at degreefree.co/newsletter.
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