The demise of the college education is coming fast. It’s clear that college is largely a rip off. At this point, Generation Y is the most in-debt generation in American history largely because of the over-inflated price of a college education. To illustrate this situation, Sannah Kvist took photos of Generation Y with everything they own. One of the photos is above, and it’s a great illustration of post-college disappointment. (There are more photos from Kvist’s project here.)
You can bet that Gen Y won’t let this happen to their kids. And Generation X, whose kids have not yet entered college, is not likely to be wiling to foot the bill for establishment BS, when Gen X has had no patience for establishment BS in the past.
The Atlantic has a great article about what life will be like when there is wide acknowlegement that the college degree is a rip off. Here are some tips about how to prepare.
1. The only college degrees that will be worth getting are from elite schools. In the near future, according to the Atlantic, college education will be dominated by a few top players. Harvard, Yale, MIT, you know them. They are the schools that attract the best of the best and do a great job of sorting through 17 year old kids to find those destined for greatness. Sure, they miss a bunch. But the ones they pick are almost always great. Those schools will continue to thrive because it’s still an honor to be selected by them.
You can tell the Atlantic is on target with this prediction because Benchmark, a Venture Capital firm known for seeing trends and investing in them before everyone else, has invested in Minervae, which is a school expressly for a very select group of students who will use the school’s acceptance as a badge of honor by itself. Does this sound stupid to you? Me too. But I think it affirms that colleges that are not extremely selective will fall to the wayside.
2. Most students will do best getting online badges instead of college degrees. The rest of the schools will probably die. And even if they are not dead when your kid gets to school, they will be close enough to dead that you won’t want to be a part of them. The non-elite colleges will be replaced with certification programs. Earning a badge, through online education, will be enough to open doors that used to require college degrees. The online badge program will be more specific, more relevant, and more economically viable.
Homeschoolers will start earning badges earlier than kids bogged down with school work based on standardized tests. The more that college degrees become useless to mainstream students, the more likely it is that mainstream students will turn to homeschooling. The burden of standardized testing and standardized learning is justified today by college entrance exams. But without that justification, programs like online badges will make standardized learning look like more of a time suck than it seems to be already.
3. Entrepreneurship will be the best bet for highly motivated students. The Wall Street Journal reports that already, parents are buying kids franchises for college graduation. It makes sense: a job is really valuable today, especially one where you learn a lot. It’s just a short step to realize that a franchise is worth more than a degree, and parents should buy kids a franchise instead of college.
Some investors are so convinced that entrepreneurship is more valuable than school that there’s a $100,000 cash reward for dropping out of school to start a business.
There is very little in business that can be taught in books. The two most important aspects of success in the workplace are being able to learn on your own and having good social skills. Having your own company forces you to do both, every day. So even if entrepreneur is not the final goal, those early years of young adult life are a time for learning to be an adult. And the things entrepreneurship teaches are what people really need to know to go out in the world and be an adult.