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College? Job? Debt? HELP!!

Question on Quora:

Would it be better to delay college for 4 years and save up and start your career later, or go into debt and start career earlier?

My answer:

The first question you need to be asking is, “Do I absolutely need a college degree for the career I want?” Because this is a different world than it was 30 years ago. College degrees don’t go as far. People with skills and know-how can get a job that is advertised as requiring a degree, without a degree…if they can prove their competence to the potential employer up front.

Consider also that over half of all people with a college degree never use the degree. Taking community college classes here and there, and otherwise learning as you go, might be enough to get you where you want to go.

Do you have a specific career in mind? In that case, could you find fulfilling work in a related career that doesn’t require a degree? Or, at least not four years?

I would recommend delving into the workforce as well as staring a side, part-time micro-business focused on an interest or talent you have. The one will broaden your skill sets and vision of opportunity, the other could turn into a lucrative, full-time career.

After doing both for a couple of years, you will

1) be able to better discern whether you truly need a college degree, and

2) have a much better idea about “what you want to be when you grow up.”

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