Do You Have to Go to College to Be Successful? The Answer: Yes and No.

For one thing, a simple means or medians comparison ignores the fact that not everyone receives the same earnings boost from a college degree. There are vastly different earnings outcomes depending on factors like the school you attend, the major you choose, the state you live in, random luck, and many others. It is entirely possible that the average return to college might be large, but at the same time, it winds up being a bad investment for some people. The focus of this report is thus not the average financial benefit from attending college, but the likelihood that such an investment pays off for an individual who enrolls.

Is University Education Necessary for Success? Term Paper

A lot has been said in the debate on whether education is necessary for success. However the truth remains that education is not necessary for success. Many of the proponents of education as a necessity for success seem to miss the real meaning of success. These people tend to define success as the acquisition of knowledge that will help a person work well for others and that will also help him/her to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities as they arise.

However, this is not the correct meaning of success. Success is holistic, and thus it includes material wealth, a strong personality, good spirituality, and even having many genuine friends, and admirers/supporters. With this definition, it is evident that education is not necessary for success. This paper examines the debate of whether education is necessary for success, and establishes the truth behind it.

You Don’t Need a College Degree to Be Successful — Here’s Why

The truth is that a college degree is a required step of many careers, but not all. Decide what career you want first and check if a degree is needed. Even if a degree is not needed in the beginning, it may be required in order for you to move higher up within your company or field.

That being said, you can certainly be successful without a college degree — your skills and talents can get you hired. Find out exactly what skills are needed for your career path and work hard to excel in them. You will have to be determined, self-disciplined, and goal-oriented. In the end, both education and marketable skills are key. It’s up to you how you want to get that education and skills — through an institution, or on your own in the real world.

Finally, do employers really check degrees? They sure do, if it’s important for them. For companies that require degrees, they may check your resume to find out if you really completed the accomplishments you put down. They will likely ask you about it in your interview as well.

However, many new companies today do not look at resumes during the hiring process. Instead, they will ask for written answers and a preliminary skills test during the application,and a more thorough and in-person skills test during the interview process. Your skillset, personality, and recommendations will go a long way for companies such as these.

What are colleges really here for?

College students graduating with a degree and debt.

Yes, going to college will teach you some things you never knew and yes you will leave with better life skills but is there a bigger picture of why colleges really exist? The reason college is so glorified goes deeper than you may think. At the end of the day, college is a business that offers education to the public and a piece of paper that says you complete units to graduate and are an expert in that field. What people don’t realize is that they are putting themselves in debt over the course of their college journey and once they graduate, they realize how much money they are in the hole.

They also realize the loan they took to go to college has interest on it and will keep compounding till the day they finish the payments. According to Forbes, the student loan debt in America has reached a staggering 1.6 trillion dollars.

Most of the “successful” graduates you see have a debt to pay with all the other bills they have and it just puts a burden on them but hey, at least they have a piece of paper they can show off to their friends and family.

A college is really a place where the banks can make money off of students as they try to get that degree. With all this in mind, is it really worth the “success” by going to college? Is it really worth the countless hours of studying for a subject that you will never use in your life? Is it really worth the $35,000+ student loans you will have to pay off?

Society and the media glorify college more than ever before and put pressure on high school seniors to go so they can look like they are doing something in their lives. As college and its expenses incrase, the people going to college are getting trapped into that mindset and can’t really do anything about it. They are scared of the backlash they will get from parents and friends if they choose to go through a different route.

Is College Necessary?

Robert Płóciennik/Deposit Photos

Is college necessary? Well, it depends who you ask. From an early age, children are told that if they want to get a good job then they have to go to college. Ingrained in our societal beliefs is that a college education provides more money which leads to success. Numbers back up those beliefs and show that people who attend college and earn a bachelor’s degree do make more money than those with a high school diploma.

The data suggests that in order for students to prosper, they need to go to college. The majority of youth are hearing these messages. In 2015, the percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall following high school graduation, was 69 percent. In 2017, some 20.4 million students were projected to attend an American college or university, representing an increase of about 5.1 million since fall 2000. And these numbers are expected to rise over the next decade.

Is college really for everyone and does a degree lead to true happiness? Educational organizations would like for us to think so, but isn’t happiness more about discovering our talents, finding our passion and landing a job that embraces our strengths?

Stuart Miles/Deposit Photos

What about the student who doesn’t have an interest in going to college? Does that mean this student is doomed to an unsuccessful life? There may be a variety of reasons why some students aren’t interested in postsecondary education such as:

As difficult if may be for some to admit, college isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. Just because some youth choose to forgo a college education, that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful. In fact, there are many successful people who didn’t earn a college degree.


It is difficult, if not impossible, to characterize the financial value of a college degree in a single number. The largely individualized nature of both the costs and benefits associated with higher education make such assessments quite challenging. In the analysis above, I try to provide the reader with a wide range of both metrics and scenarios to comprehensively communicate the scenarios where a college degree is likely to be a good investment.

A college degree has substantial financial value, both on average and for the vast majority of graduates. This is true even after making a number of “adjustments” to lifetime earnings which provide a much more accurate view of the value afforded by attending college. Attending college is not without risk, however. The financial and time investments will not pay off for everyone—especially if we continue to see about half of those who enroll at the average 4- year college not holding a degree 6 years later.