Sunday, September 2, 2012

Is it better not to go to University?

Like a lot of people in my generation, I went to university at a time when it was seen as being, without any doubt, the right path for any bright young person.  For me personally, I was the classic first in my family to go into Higher Education, and university was, quite literally, a passport to a new world of people, ideas and experiences which I would not possibly have encountered had I stayed in my town in the North-West and joined a firm after leaving school.

So when people champion not going to university, I am usually the first to suggest they think again.  But, as time has passed, I have reconsidered the value of university, at least to all people.  I am not alone!  American billionaire Peter Thiel has set aside $100k for 20 students under 20 years of age who promise NOT to go to university but instead set up businesses.   He believes that university is of no real value to many young people and think that their education and development would be better served by capitalising them early  in life as entrepreneurs.

When I think about my own kids, I am definitely not going to foist university upon them.   Indeed I am going to tell them, at 18, that they have a choice: I pay their fees or I invest in their new business.   I would love my kids to be entrepreneurs as I too have found that this teaches you both practical skills, resilience and allows you to learn about other people and your own character.     I think entrepreneurship is incredibly under-valued in our country in favour of professions most people in them privately crave to escape from and stick with purely for the money.  

When I think about myself, I actually think university was the right track.  I needed the adrenaline-rush of ideas, bright people and new environment that swept me out of a very monochrome world.  But I see Thiel's point and sympathise with his programme.  Enterprise is perhaps the best form of Higher Education yet invented.


Rob 'Arris said...

Agree entirely Craig I vaguely remember us havin this conversation a while back. If either of my children want to pursue a discernible career requiring university qualifications (medicine, architecture, vetinary med, law etc) I will support their education. Otherwise it's nurture towards good experience in a biz, biz classes core skills and early investment in their venture; plus a load of free mentoring!

universidades said...

interesting! I never thought many things, but it's a shame that only young and elderly ...Greetings!