by Lenore Holditch
I know, I know. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs did it, so you don’t think that the college degree is all that important. Maybe you’re in college or in a graduate program, and all you want to do is start your own business. In fact, one grant – the Thiel Fellowship – actually encourages dropping out of college to do their own thing. For most budding entrepreneurs, however, there are several reasons to stick with your degree plan and see it through.
1. You’ll have a credential that can help you tremendously in getting a job.
Perhaps you’re thinking that you don’t need a job, because you’re going to start a business, right? Of course, in a perfect world, this would be the case. But unless you have very wealthy parents bankrolling you, most entrepreneurs have to start working a regular job to first make ends meet. Without a college degree, the chances of you getting a good skills-oriented job that can help you become a better entrepreneur are very slim.
2. Learning various subjects that aren’t necessarily related to your business goals can still help you in the future.
You may not realize it, but your English composition class can help you in business, just as your statistics and Spanish class can. To be a successful entrepreneur, you really have to be a jack-of-all-trades. You have to understand numbers, you have to understand computers, and you have to understand how to communicate effectively. Completing a college degree will give you better overall knowledge in multiple fields
3. School will help you build the network that you need to succeed.
Successful entrepreneurship is often tantamount to successful networking. While, of course, you can network just about anywhere, the community aspect of college can help you network in a more efficient way. As a college student you can also tap into your alumni database, which is likely filled with tons of successful entrepreneurs who can, if you approach them in the right way, serve as life-long mentors.
4. The value of a college degree isn’t just professional.
At the end of the day, getting a college degree isn’t only about being better positioned in the marketplace. There’s the value of learning about the world, learning about yourself, and learning about others. Again, you can arguably do all of these things without a college degree, but a university education is structured in a way that makes introspection and intellectual discovery easier.
Don’t get me wrong—a college degree isn’t the end all, be all of success. But college degrees serve as a good starting point. Through studying, you’ll develop the discipline and work ethic that’s absolutely instrumental in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
What do you think about entrepreneurs dropping out of college? Would or did you drop out? Share your experiences in the comment section below!
Lenore Holditch is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys giving students and recent grads advice about advanced degrees, careers, and personal finance.
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