Derek Tillotson


The vast majority of people who go to college...probably shouldn't go to college.

It's not because they don't "deserve" to go, or any similar reason. It's because most college degrees don't accomplish anything outside of simply having a degree.

I speak from experience, as I have a bachelor's in Political Science. What does one do with such a degree? You either go to grad school, go to law school, or do something that doesn't require a degree. And if law school is what you're aiming for, there are more impactful undergrad degrees out there (accounting is super practical).

And it's not just political science. Most degrees--even ones that seem practical--are less valuable than they appear. You want to get into marketing? You don't need a degree, just prove you know how to market (I've been reading another one of Seth Godin's books lately, so I have marketing on the brain). If you want to be a fiction writer, just start reading and writing--school won't teach you the discipline you need. If you want to start a business, start by learning everything about your desired industry--getting a business degree will just give you excess debt.

Other than the few careers that truly require a degree (like lawyers and doctors), there's little reason to pursue formal higher education for most people. Having been in retail for years, I've talked to a lot of younger people thinking of going to school and a common reason from many/most was "I don't know what to do." Uncertainty is a terrible reason to build up tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

There are so many other ways to educate yourself these days and even more ways to break into an industry without a degree. I learned far too late that following the group down that path is a fast track to being unremarkable. Though, I'm grateful I did learn that.

Written August 23, 2020

Back to main page

Back to blog archive