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15+ Reasons Not to Go to College

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Should I Go to College?

Are you certain that college is the best option for you? Or perhaps you assume that you have no choice but to go to college in order to get a good job. In this article we list at least 15 reasons not to go to college.

You’ll also find LOTS of college statistics and alternative ideas toward earning while learning. Earning while learning versus accumulating debt is definitely near the top of all reasons not to go to college.

Find work directly in alignment with your interests, and you’ll be laying the foundation for a solid career and a happier life!

Pro Education

Don’t worry, this article is very much PRO EDUCATION… just maybe not the traditional path. Even then… “traditional” is the rather recent past, for the past 50 or so years ago, college wasn’t the common tradition for most.

Should I go to college? If you’re asking this question, the answer is probably “no”. Please don’t ever go to college to figure out what you want to do. Even if you know what you want to do, the answer is likely still “no”. We elaborate on that extensively, in this article.

NOTE: If the title still ruffles your feathers and you want to skip to pros for college, go to the community comments at the end.

Education is essential for success, and ongoing learning and growth is essential for a vital life. It just may not be college education.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder®

Should I Go Back to School?

🎵The times, they are a-changing🎶

If you’re over 35, or an empty nester, baby boomer or senior, you may be asking the question of whether you should go back to school. You may long for a career change, or more creative and fulfilling work—or even a creative hobby to start—but unsure of the options and what you want to do.

Don’t go back to school. At least not as your first option, UNLESS your goal is to pay time and money for another piece of paper that tells the world you’re qualified… if they ask. You may get the diploma, but you may not get the job.

Older adults, please don’t go back to school. Not yet at least.

Learn, create and self educate. Your experience is your portfolio.

“As a creator, you don’t have to have a degree. Your body of work speaks for itself.”
~Devani Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily®

Table of Contents

The Worst Possible Approach

Reasons Not to Go to College

So many people of all ages say they’re going to college, or going back to school to figure out what they want to do.


Do not start out wasting time and money—or worse, acquiring debt—while figuring out what you want to do.

Consider what you enjoy and love to do, or would love to do. What hobbies or interests do you do in your free time and start there. Begin exploring all fields and jobs related to that, and search avidly for a job or business opportunities in that area.

PLEASE… DO NOT GO TO COLLEGE to figure out what you want to do! Instead, earn money by getting a job in your areas of interest, then earn while you learn and explore. You’ll save money, time and debt and end up more qualified.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

New Approaches to Education

Now if you already have a college degree, great! If you’re looking at continuing education and learning, that’s fantastic and highly recommended. It just may not have to be a college or university education program to achieve what you need. In fact, it’s likely not.

Today’s education it’s more than just about blue collar or white collar. There’s a new term coined by Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, as “new collar”.  It’s about selective education based on what you need to know when you need it.

To support this concept, in June 2017, Microsoft announced a grant to Skillful, a program which encourages skills-oriented job training. MicroSoft has demonstrated that it’s glad to hire employees without degrees, so long as they’re trained in the skills needed for the job they’re applying to.

“Jobs are being created that demand new skills – which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting.”
~Ginny Rometty, CEO, IBM, as quoted in USA Today[1]

We’re ardent about this topic because today, there are more reasons not to go to college than there are to go, especially for creators and entrepreneurs.

“Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.”
~Zack Friedman, senior contributor,

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: We're ardent about this topic because today, there are more reasons not to go to college than there are to go, especially for creators and entrepreneurs. There's another way.

5 Reasons NOT to Go to College

NOTE: You’ll find 10+ more reasons as you continue reading. And yes… DEBT is listed three times on purpose in order to emphasize debt as one of the main reasons not to go to college. Beyond that, the various forms of college debt and statistics are given.

  1. LACK OF CLARITY: You don’t yet know what you want to do.
  2. DEBT: In 2018, 69% of graduating seniors had college debt.
  3. NOT USING DEGREE: A 2017 study revealed that 49.6% of college graduates reported they’re not using their degree.[2]
    • Some haven’t chosen to work in that field.
    • Others haven’t found a job in their field of study.
  4. DEBT: Total student loan debt has more than doubled since 2009, from $675 million to $1.52 trillion in 2019.
  5. DEBT: Average student loan debt – 10 year averages:
    • Increased 4% for public colleges 7% for historically black colleges and universities.
    • Decreased 3% for private colleges and 1% for historically women’s institutions
      ~Source: (you can find thorough breakdowns by state and college in this article)

We suspect that the decrease in loans in private and women’s colleges is because many of those prospective students are more likely to pursue alternative educational options. As you will see, we’re just getting warmed up in covering the many reasons not to go to college. Depending on your goals, there are likely better ways.

We cover more on student loan statistics further below, but these stats provide proof of the state of debt.

College is a fake environment. There’s nothing about college that has anything to do with your professional career.
~Gary Vaynerchuk, Russian-American magnate, author, b.11/14/1975

Changing of the Old Guard

Time to awaken from that matrix and take control of our own educational choices and outcomes.

This is the Information Age… the age of the Information Superhighway and the World Wide Web where everyone has access to virtually all knowledge for less or sometimes even for free. It is not easy, learning always requires effort. The best and most complete training is rarely free, but alternative education is very accessible and significantly more affordable than traditional institutions that care so much overhead in real estate and tenured salaries..

Artists of all mediums can save lots of money by scouring and studying the multitude of free YouTube tutorials, then follow the creators you most enjoy. Many of those have courses where you can get more when you’re ready to go deeper.

The Abundant Artist, for example, hosts a community for creators where there are many benefits. Or, you can buy a course at a time, with—or without—instruction.

“All it means if you get A’s is that you’re good at school. And you don’t get to do school after you’re done with school. The boss doesn’t say, ‘We’re going to have a test on Friday and I want you to regurgitate everything you learned for the last four weeks’. That’s not what happens.”
~Seth Godin, visionary, author, teacher, speaker, b.7/10/1960

Fast Track Hacks for Business Growth – More Reasons Not to Go to College

  1. You can hire a business coach for creators for one-on-one or group coaching.
  2. Hire a consultant for exactly what you need to know, when you need it.
  3. Outsource some of the tasks to freelancers – or become a freelancer to grow your skills.

While hiring a coach, consultant or freelancer to advise you may sound expensive, it’s usually vastly cheaper than a college education.

No longer is “higher education” or “continuing education” the dominion of colleges and universities. In the Information Age, there are so many more opportunities to quickly learn what you need, when you need it.

College does not guarantee success. College does not guarantee a job. Nearly half of college educated Americans are not using their college degree.
~Study by Pureprofile for[3]

SOURCE: July 2017 survey of 2,245 Americans commissioned by and conducted by global research provider Pureprofile.[4]

10 Reasons Not to Go to College

  1. Spend thousands—to hundreds of thousands—of dollars
  2. Work hard for four or more years
  3. Take courses you’re not interested in and will never use
  4. Get a degree – a piece of paper, (which you may never use)
  5. There’s no guarantee of a job after graduation.
  6. Get a job and work your way into something better
  7. Start your adult life in debt for years
  8. Your success is largely controlled by others
  9. 10 years later… You long to do work that matters to you
  10. 10 years later… you still owe on your student debt.
College does not guarantee success. College does not guarantee a job. Nearly half of college educated Americans are not using their college degree.

OUTCOME: Success possible. Happiness uncertain.

“From millennials to seniors, student loans are the second largest debt category in the United States.”

10 More Reasons Not to Go to College

AKA 10 Reasons to Pursue Alternative Education

Comparing the reasons not to go to college scenario above to alternative education:

  1. Get a job in your area of interest.
  2. Work hard for four or more years – pursue your passion part time.
  3. Start a business – grow your own brand, (or work your way up in a job you enjoy).
  4. There’s no guarantee of success.
  5. Four years of learning exactly what you need to do the work you love.
  6. No debt because you’ve been earning while learning.
  7. You have created value in the world and built a business that is your own, (or become a linchpin in a job you love).
  8. You’re fulfilling your purpose doing the work that matters to you.
  9. 10 years later you’re earning a living doing work you love.
  10. 10 years – your skills and success have compounded, and no student or business debt.
10 reasons to pursue alternative education-iCreateDaily

OUTCOME: Success possible. Happiness probable.

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: Today, you can create your future through a self-designed curriculum focused on exactly what you need, when you need it.

Creators… artists… writers… entrepreneurs… you don’t need college to create.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Creators dont need college to create

Debt Serfdom – #1 Reason Not to Go to College

A Travesty of the Education System

The first job of colleges and universities is to educate students. Yet these institutions of higher learning are not illuminating the shadows of enslavement when it comes to student loans and debt.

The goal of college is higher education. It doesn’t take higher math to calculate the deficits versus benefits. For young adults to exit university at around age 22, places them at an average age of 43 before their loan is paid off. Yikes!!

While the average student loan is set for 10 years, many default to a 20 year payoff.

It’s surprising that so many still follow this path to debt and insecurity today. Baffling, until you realize that the survival of the positions in these institutions is dependent on growing and perpetuating the need for them.

Old Systems Change Slowly

In his book, The Selfish Gene, scientist, Richard Dawkins elaborates on how the natural fight for survival is common amongst all organisms. While we don’t share Dawkins’ atheistic views, it’s certainly a truism that all living organisms, which include bodies of entities such as organizations, institutions and governments, are wired to do whatever is necessary to survive. Not only to survive but to grow larger and thrive.

I mean… which department of any government or university would voluntarily dismantle itself? Few to none. So we must, not by the stance or riots we make but by the actions we take to choose another way. The well worn paths remain the way, for it is the path of least resistance, until enough people branch off and create new ones.

Few Institutions Volunteer to Reduce or Eliminate Themselves

One historical example we’re aware of is Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian spiritual teacher groomed as a teen to grow into heading a massive international organization, he ended up choosing to dissolve it instead. Krishnamurthi observed that people were following him rather than leading themselves into their own path, and thus he dissolved his Order of the Star. A man after our hearts to be sure.

But these examples are few and far between whether it’s a religion, a nation or a corporation, most die a slow death before they’ll change and innovate. We took a moment to share this section above because it’s such an important point. It isn’t always “follow the money”. Often, it is about “follow the power”, and “follow the motivation”… follow the instinct to survive — that instinct of self-preservation that infuses all life.

Okay… back on topic.

Don’t go into debt for a degree you may never need. There’s another way.

The education isn’t working, because when you look at the statistics you find that only 27% of the people actually get a job out of college that relates to what they study.
~Tony Robbins, visionary entrepreneur, speaker, transformation coach, author, b.2/29/1960

Student Loan Debt – Reasons Not to Go to College

Student Loan Debt Facts

  • 69% of students of the Class of 2018 have an average student loan debt of $29,800
    • 14% of parents took out an average of $35,600 in student loans[5]
  • 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt
  • Average monthly student student loan payment is $393
    • The median monthly student loan payment is $222
  • Student loan default percentages by college type within 12 years:
    • 48% default from for-profit colleges
    • 12% of public college attendees,
    • 14% of nonprofit college attendees
  • Student loans are generally set to be paid off in 10-years,
    • Average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off college loans!
10 Reasons not to Go to College + Student Loan Debt Statistics; #ReaonsNotToGoToCollege #YouDontNeedADegree #ShouldIGoBackToSchool

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: Today’s students may not have their student loan paid off before it’s time for their kids to attend college!

The most common student loan repayment plans range from between 12-30 years.

Some Surprising Student Loan Debt Statistics

The baby boomers and seniors who grew up with college as a badge of respectability and education, have naturally held that as a goal for their children. Many such parents are extremely concerned if their offspring opt out of college.

Discussing reasons not to go to college isn’t just a conversation baby boomers and seniors should be having with their kids and grandkids. Rather, for many it’s a question they should evaluate for themselves as well.

As too many boomers and seniors watch their retirement income fall short of inflation, they turn to what they know. “I guess I need to go back to school.” And many do. However, there’s another way. In fact, there are many other ways.

Today, baby boomers aged 60-69 represent the largest increase in student loan debt.[7]

COLLEGE TUITION BY TOP UNIVERSITIES-Reasons not to go to college, college debt, price of college vs. starting salary after 5 years of school debt. #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeTuition #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #StudentDebtFacts #CollegeMemes
College tuition, debt and starting salaries. Image by Knowledge Based Business™

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: For a college alternative that’s a virtual business-in-a-box along with education, instruction and even your own website, check out the Knowledge Based Business program, and other options such as Teachable and Udemy.

Outdated College Courses

Not only is college education long, costly and often not micro-targeted, it’s often outdated. Working in the marketing and media industries, we’ve heard from a number of graduates that course information was outdated by the time they graduated and went searching for jobs. We’ve heard similar stories from other industry majors.

In today’s rapidly adapting and changing world, many professors are teaching from textbooks that are outdated by the time they’re approved for use. Naturally, some college curriculums allow professorial choice, which helps to shorten the time from source to classroom. However, it can be a virtual full time job to keep up with industry changes.

No more is it that the college professor can know a subject in science, health, wellness, nutrition, media and marketing, for instance, and teach it for years to come. Even history books are changing to reflect stories and perspectives that were left out or skewed in the older versions.

Today’s professors and teachers have to also be perpetual students—often through alternative means—just to keep up.

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: Classroom curriculum is typically behind the technical revolution of today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

Sooner or later parents have to take responsibility for putting their kids into a system that is indebting them and teaching them to be cogs in an economy that doesn’t want cogs any more.”
~Seth Godin on the Tim Ferriss podcast #253

Sooner or later parents have to take responsibility for putting their kids into a system that is indebting them and teaching them to be cogs in an economy that doesn’t want cogs any more. ~Seth Godin on the Tim Ferriss podcast #253 #AchievementQuotes #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SethGodinQuote #StudentDebtFacts #CollegeMemes

The Freelance Economy

College might be more than unnecessary for creators; it may even be detrimental.

If you plan to work as a visual artist, for example, basic college courses in English, math, science, and social science may not serve you. We’re huge fans of education and interdisciplinary learning, but there are so many other and better ways today.

However, to make a living from your primary area of interest, you don’t need to take those courses before acquiring enough experience and skills to earn a living doing what you love. Instead, learn what you need when you need it and then discover other areas of interest over time. Your creative pursuits will naturally tend to lead you into ever expanding horizons of interest.

It’s the rare creator who sticks to just one medium of creativity. Most naturally become interested in multiple mediums of expression. You don’t have to have it all figured out ahead of time because the next step always leads to the next step.

Even a misstep is edifying and remedial and contributes experience to your skills.

Facts About Freelancing

  • Freelancers are more likely to steadily add new skills than employees.
  • Diverse skills prepares freelancers to be more adaptable and employable in fast-paced changing economies of present and future.
  • Freelancers experience greater income security through diverse revenue streams.

SOURCE: Edelman Intelligence surveys of 6,000 working adults in 2017

If the average student debt payment is $393 per month for a 4-year college degree, let’s explore what else you can do with that instead.

“We’ve never lived in a world where formal education mattered less.”
~Gary Vaynerchuk, Russian-American magnate, author, b.11/14/1975

“We’ve never lived in a world where formal education mattered less.” ~Gary Vaynerchuk, business mogul, speaker, influencer #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SettingGoals #StudentDebtFacts #CollegeMemes #AchieveYourGoals

First, What Do You Already Know?

Chances are you already know something you can teach others. Many older adults are returning to college to learn a skill. Maybe. But consider all the things you already know how to do, no matter how small it may seem to you.

There are people with unusual—or seemingly small kinds of—skills who know something others would like to know and likely be willing to pay for.

Below are just some examples of creative skills others would value and pay for. And remember, the paying audience consists not just of college aged kids.

Already a Teacher?

Speaking of which, if you’re a teacher, you’re way ahead in practice at sharing skills and having skills to share. Now, you just need to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur to teach what you want, as you want it.

Your potential audience includes all ages, from parents of elementary to college aged kids, and on up to boomers and seniors.

One man we know of had taught himself how to use Scrivener, an amazing but somewhat complex software for writers. He’s easily earning six figures selling that course.

Don’t Trade Hours for Dollars

The problem for most artists and creators is the trading of hours for dollars. Original art doesn’t scale and most artists end up a minimum wage because they can’t sell their work for all the time they put into it.

This is equally true for writers, especially fiction writers, which is why it’s the rare writer who’s earning a comfortable living just from their writing.

Creators, don’t just trade hours for dollars. Instead, create a course that you can sell over and over for infinite returns. You’re helping others while helping yourself do more of the work you love.

Creators, don’t trade hours for dollars. Instead, learn to scale your work and leverage your time through creating courses, curricula and trainings.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Skills You May Have – or Skills You Can Learn and then Earn

Just as you can buy the course or training you need for what you want to learn next. So too can you teach what you know or learn.

You can create a course of what you know and sell that as live or packaged classes and courses. This alphabetically organized list is already long, and yet more can still be added!

Whether you spend a couple years in college or a couple months focused on a specific skill, the end result will be the same: you will need to find a job or create your own, and that can take time.

Take or Teach a Course – Part 1 – Reasons Not to Go to College

  • COACHING – If you want to help people, there are other ways than becoming a licensed therapist. There are all kinds of coaching certification programs that can qualify you within weeks or months to begin coaching, while granting access to a community of coaches at all levels, sharing their experiences, for feedback and guidance:
    • Art Coach / teacher
    • Art Therapy
    • Diet & Nutrition Coach
    • Health Coach
    • Life Coach
    • Marriage & Family
    • Writing Coach
    • Recipes
    • Kitchen tools
    • Professional prepping shortcuts
    • How to cook for a large crowd
    • Cake confectionery decorating and making
    • Freelance teacher – on site or in studio
    • Create how-to dance move videos – hugely popular to attract students
    • Choreograph dances for all kinds of people, events and occasions
    • Host dance parties at local gyms
    • How to’s plan, host and orchestrate events – or teach others how to
      • online events
      • in person events
      •  bridal showers
      • be a bridesmaid – one lady is earning 6 figures a year as a professional bridesmaid after serving this role for several friends and others began to ask her
      • Retreats – unlimited – can be created for virtually every genre of interest
      • Wedding planner
  • MASTERMINDS – coordinate, host and facilitate masterminds for your profession or area of interest. Here’s a virtual turnkey business-in-a-box that will launch you into this in a big way.
    • How to – there’s no one way. If you meditate, you can teach someone what you do that works for you
      • Research kinds meditation and write about it – you will become an expert on meditation rather than just one style
      • Meditative music and/or art
        • musicians need your art as covers for their music videos, such as on YouTube
        • products for meditators
  •  MUSIC
    • Songwriting
    •  Rap
    •  Instruments
    • Singing / voice coach
    • Rocks
    •  Eyes
    •  Clouds
    • Mediums – any of the various painting mediums and techniques
    • Techniques
    • Photo apps – best ones and tips on using them
    • Camera Phone
      • lense attachments
      • tripod, selfie stick, stands and other accessories

Infinite Opportunities – The Sky’s No Limit

No matter your areas of interest, there’s some opportunity there for you. The best way to discover it if it’s not already obvious? Start working in it, playing in it, interning or apprenticing, creating around it, studying and immersing in it. Once you immerse you will learn and see increasingly expanded opportunities to earn.

Take or Teach a Course – Part 2 – Reasons Not to Go to College

    • Growing cut flowers
    • Flower arranging
    • Succulent gardens
    • Herb gardens
    • Wreath making
    • Dried flowers
      • how to dry
      • how to use
  • READING/SPEAKING/ORATION – teachers are often a perfect fit for this given their career of speaking in front of a classroom audience plus reading out loud with meaning, emphasis and color.
    • Oration tips
    • Spoken poetry
    • Speech writing and prep
    • Professional voice actor for scripts and reading audiobooks
  • SOCIAL MEDIA – What’s your favorite social platform? Learn it even more, inside and out, then:
    • Teach it
    • Manage social accounts for clients
  • TECHNOLOGY – Even if you’re not a techie, if you know how to use a smartphone and computer:
    • Many older seniors who are tech newbies and need help learning and adapting to technology.
    • Teach about your favorite apps
  • TEACHERS – as indicated above, you’re already equipped with all kinds of skills and resources. You can:
    • Teach other teachers and homeschoolers how to create lesson plans and curriculums
    • Package some of your existing lesson plans to sell online
    • Create your own books, products, curricula and courses
    • How to use Excel, Word, etc.
    • Create travel courses to/for:
      • historical sites
      • art tours and retreats
      • museum trips
  • TRAVEL – If you love to travel, there are still many opportunities and niches in the realm of travel.
    • Travel blog – preferably with a specific niche to set you apart from the travel blog crowd, such as a focus on travel for:
      • singles
      • teachers
      • families
      • people with pets
      • country specific, including US
      • hobby travel
      • free lodging for travel for house sitters, such as
      • home swap travel such as with
    • Poetry
    • Grammar
    • Fiction
    • Non-fiction
    • Screenplays / scripts
    • Essays
    • Article writing

Social Media Manager Salary Chart by ZipRecruiter

Social Media Manager Salary chart by ZipRecruiter
REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: Learn while you earn doing what you enjoy: sharing, caring, commenting and creating content and art as a social media manager and content creator. #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SettingGoals  #CollegeMemes #AchieveYourGoals #Freelancers #Writers #Artists #Creators #ContentCreators #SocialMediaManagerSalary
Chart by

Take a Course – Part 3 – Financial Education as a Life Skill – Reasons Not to Go to College

  • INVESTMENT COURSES – Instead of the average $30,000 of student loan debt, invest that in an investment course while working full or part time at any job, including opportunities in your area of interest. E.g. $10k for a course; $20k to invest. The right courses will teach you to be disciplined, careful and methodical.

    Even if you have no interest in the profession of investing, you will have secured for yourself, the knowledge to take control and responsibility for the growth and management of your own financial resources.

    By the end of the year, you may well have grown your income and earnings while learning. By the end of four years, you could even be on your way to being financially independent. We favor Rule One by author, investor, Phil Town.

    The Rule One company is on a mission to make the best investment education readily available to the masses and they host a monthly workshop in Atlanta. You can also tune into their weekly podcast, InvestEd for more free education. This is the track our son is taking.

As we mentioned in this article on ‘from passion to profit’, one man is hired around the world for his ability to teach athletes how to jump higher!

Learning While Traveling

There’s no limit to choosing work you love. E.g., History teachers who love to travel could become global travel guides for their favorite historical sites for their own company or that of others. People who love to cook, or who are — or aspire to be — a professional chef, could travel around to global locations working in restaurants around the world. Coffee connoisseurs could travel around working for coffee shops, etc.

Your Potential Buying Audience

Depending on the various skills you’ve acquired, your potential audience of paying customers is huge. However, to start, consider the specific niche you can best serve. Here are some audience examples.

Prospective Clients / Audience

  • PARENTS hiring tutors to help their kids excel in school – Subjects are limitless, though most common would be:
    • Math
    • English
      • Reading
      • Writing
    • Foreign languages
    • Sports
    • Music
    • Art

Creator’s Challenge… and Opportunity:
TRUTH: There may be more people glad to pay for your knowledge than there are patrons wanting to buy your work.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Learning While Earning Skills and Dollars

As an older adult, with no plans to become a doctor or lawyer, I would definitely seek selective courses instead of college.

“Corporations are the new colleges.”
~Bobbi Brown, founder-Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, author, b.4/14/1957

If there’s no paid position with the company or field you’re interested in, then acquire the skill if you don’t already have it. If you can’t find a paid position, then offer your services for free until they value you enough to hire you for pay, or you find a paying position elsewhere. Meanwhile, you’ll be amassing real life experience.

If you’re not sure what you want to do or focus on, Follow the threads of interest and peruse YouTube video tutorials and articles online. The more you explore the more interests and options you’ll discover.

There’s a list of sample jobs for artist, writers and social media positions to check out in this article on best social media platforms.

Chances are you’re already utilizing YouTube to learn from others. YouTube is still free for anyone to set up and channel on the second most used search engine in the world. While you’re working on growing you art and skills, include one that helps you learn how to use YouTube for growing your business.

We’ve literally built society backwards. Like when you first get out of the school machine, which maps zero to real life, you’re supposed to go play real life to have a chance to figure out what you do.

Where do you start? With what you are consuming and paying attention to what you do when you have leisure time. Start with ‘what do you like?'”.

~Gary Vaynerchuk, Russian-American magnate, author, b.11/14/1975

Intern or Apprentice – the New Era of Education

What Was Old is New Again

Most all training and learning used to be via apprenticeships. We’re seeing a return to that highly effective approach to education. We’re on another turn of the spiral of education evolution and today’s era is perfectly poised for autodidactic education and on-the-job learning, whether for pay or for free.

This is HUGE and a highly recommended path by some of the most prominent thought leaders of today, from Gary Vaynerchuk, to Tom Bilyeu, and Chase Jarvis.

Work for Pay or for Free

If there aren’t paying positions in your area of interest for your level of experience (or inexperience thus far), that need not be a barrier of entry. Instead, you could volunteer to work for free for someone whose work you admire in the area you wish to pursue. In this case you’re earning education and connection, as an intern or apprentice.

While you may or may not earn money as an intern or apprentice, you’re learning for free rather than for debt, as in college! Meanwhile, you can also continue to apply for paid positions and constantly update your resume’ and portfolio as your body of knowledge and work grows.

Hands-on Learning from Those Who are Doing

You’re also learning hands on with those who are doing it and who are where you wish to go. Beyond that, working for someone who is established in and around your areas of interest will expose you to other relationships and opportunities you could predict or plan in advance.

“Internship gives you the experience your prospective employers seek, and in your exact field of interest.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Why Work for Free?

If you go to college, you’re dedicating four years of your life and a large sum of money. You will be required to also take courses that hold no interest, relevancy or applicability to your life and goals. You probably won’t be able to earn full time income while in college, plus, will likely also come out in debt.

If you offer to work for free for someone whose career you aspire to, chances are you could work for a month or six before being offered a paid position with that same person. If you do a great job, they won’t want to lose you. But even if they can’t hire you, don’t you think they would send you off with glowing recommendations and probable introductions to someone who could?

We’re talking about working in your chosen area of interest in under a year instead of four if you go the degreed route. When you leave college with a degree, do you know that most prospective employers value experience equal to or over a degree?

Working for free will give you that, and very likely lead to a good job. Not only that but you will be entering the work place with connections you established during your internship.

With college, you pay with time and money, with no guarantees of work after graduation. To intern for free or fee is to add value, gain experience and make connections, all of which will lead to the job you want in the very field you’re interested in.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

How to Earn While Growing Your Knowledge

  • Apply for jobs in your area of interest
  • Volunteer to work for free for someone whose work you admire in the area your wish to pursue
  • Create a podcast that interviews people in your area of interest.
  • Host an online or in-person event where you invite experts you admire to speak.
  • Create a mastermind of related peers. Once you gain experience, you can earn by creating a for-pay mastermind.

For a course on how to create masterminds, host events and also teach what you know, this is one of the best. It even offers a turnkey website, which that alone more than covers the price of the course!

One of the best ways to identify your passion for any career or area of endeavor is to experience it before you commit to it.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

But What About Socialization and College Friendship?

You can do that anywhere at any time. You can start meetups in your locale for your areas of interest. Those then become more specific, focused and purposeful friendships. For a fantastic article on the concept of friendships, we highly recommend this one by Benjamin Hardy on the subject of who your surround yourself with.

We’ve also written about that in this article on who you hang out with.

Create Your Freelance Career

Today, you no longer have to suffer through all of those minimum required courses that have nothing to do with what you want to do.

Now consider how ludicrous it is to pay money and go into debt to take college courses you don’t want and will never need. Instead, design your own curriculum… your own “CreatorU” custom designed to be exactly the courses you need when you need them.

“Creator U”

We are in a new renaissance of The Age of the Artist. We’re also calling it “ArtInno” because some of the best innovative businesses of today are incorporating art and creativity into what they do, and they need you.

It’s your time to paint your dreams on the canvas of your life.

CREATORS: artists, writers, composers, photographers, dancers, crafters, entrepreneurs, etc., you don’t need college to create. You need experience and to learn the next most important thing to advance you in the journey toward your goals.

It’s ludicrous to pay time and money to go into debt to take college courses you don’t want and will never need.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

REASONS NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE: It's ludicrous to pay time and money to go into debt to take college courses you don't want and will never need. ~LeAura Alderson, #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SettingGoals #StudentDebtFacts #CollegeMemes #AchieveYourGoals

Courses for Creatives

There are MANY courses for creatives today, and that number is rapidly growing. Here’s a list of top programs with courses, followed by some elaborations of options.

  • Abundant Artist – teaches artists how to earn by selling their art
  • B-School with Marie Forleo – teaches you how to start, manage and monetize your online brand
  • Coaching programs such as the highly successful Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo – If you love to help people with their life challenges, this is an accelerated program with successfully monetizing coaches with happy clients.
  • Coursera – career courses similar to an online university
  • CreativeLive – courses for creators, including how to create and run your creator business
  • Digital Marketer – training and certifications in all things marketing and social media that will train you toward becoming a well paid digital marketer
  • Knowledge Based Business program – how to take your own knowledge and skill and package it into your own monetizing course.
  • Skillshare – All kinds of courses to cause a creator to get excited about improving existing skills and learning new ones.
  • Teachable – Any kind of course imaginable made by people in the trenches doing it.
  • Becoming a Working Artist by Lisa Congdon. Here’s a summary of Lisa’s course:

    Becoming a Working Artist by Lisa Congdon on Creative Live

    Lisa Congdon is an illustrator, artist, and author of Art, Inc. the Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist. “You don’t have to starve to be an artist. Build a career doing what you love.”

    In this class, Lisa will show you how to:

    • Create your unique style
    • Map out your vision and goals
    • Break into the fine art market
    • Land and negotiate art licensing deals
    • Promote your work effectively
    • Handle rejection and disappointments

    Lisa Congdon’s course on Become a Working Artist will teach you how to build a vibrant, rewarding career in art. If you want to make money as an artist, this is a great place to start.

    The Price? Just $36 as of this writing. Or, you could join Creative Live for an entire year for the price of the average monthly payment for a student loan. That tuition gives you access to all courses, where you could power through as many as a dozen or more relevant courses.

    If you diligently apply yourself to your courses of choice, you could easily have more than one marketable skill in a year, and likely several. The more skills you learn the greater your opportunities.

    Acquire one marketable skill and you could be earning in just weeks.
    ~LeAura Alderson, creator®

    Freelancing is on the Rise

    Freelancing is on the rise and the freelancers who learn multiple skills will never run out of opportunities to earn through your creative skills. Take a course that most aligns with your interests or the field you wish to enter.

    Most skills can be acquired in just weeks or months rather than years. Learn it, then put out your resume or freelance profile. In the meantime, you can offer to serve someone in that industry for free.

    Creators… forget learning with debt. Instead, save thousands of dollars by taking the courses you need when you need them.
    ~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

    Create Your Own Curriculum

    Forgot $30k in College Debt or $393/month in payments. You can sign up for over 1,500 art industry related courses for under $300 per YEAR… or under $40/mo. In just one year you could have a dozen or more classes completed and a part of your creator resume, learning exactly the skills that interest you.

    And CreativeLive is just one of the many educational opportunities available. We’ve interviewed a number of artists who are earning a living from their art, photography and writing, as well as from teaching others.

    You Don’t Need a Teaching Degree to Teach

    If you want to work as a teacher, instead of four years of college to get a teaching degree, you can learn more in your genre of interest and then create your own course and/or class. Grow your audience by teaching for free first, such as via YouTube. While you’re growing your following and your skills by teaching what you know for free, you’ll have acquired a fan base, some of whom will buy from you when you’re ready to create your own course.

    We have a neighbor who’s a math teacher. She left—what was for her—a chaotic and bureaucratic school system that stifled her creativity. She created her own math tutoring business where she doesn’t have to deal with red tape, forced curriculums, and classrooms full of kids who don’t want to be there.

    You can be a teacher or tutor and create a course without a degree if you’re knowledgeable and experienced with a skill to share.
    LeAura Alderson,®

    1500+ Classes with Creative Live for less than $40/month in 2019

    Creative Live courses, art education, courses for creators. #CoursesForArtists #AlternativeEducation #ArtEducation #OnlineCourses #OnlineClasses #CreativeLive #OnlineLearning #ArtCourses #WritingCourses
    CreativeLive prices as of March, 2019.

    Even better? You can join CreativeLive for free!

    Experience exceeds a degree. So create and learn… create and learn. Don’t waste your time accumulating debt while paying to do work for classes that have no meaning or purpose for you or your goals.

    The best way to get better at your art and craft is to create a lot. Forget perfection. Focus on execution and improvement will come. Rapid execution leads to rapid improvement and faster progress.

    Most employers would prefer to hire someone with 4 years of experience over 4 years of college.

    Learn, then do, and in the doing, you learn so much more, and so much more quickly.
    ~LeAura Alderson,®

    Learn then do and in the doing, you learn so much more and so much more quickly. ~LeAura Alderson, #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SettingGoals #EarnWhileYouLearn #LearningWhileEarning

    How to Stay Viable in Today’s Market

    Goodbye Gatekeepers — Reasons Not to Go to College

    The middle man industries are crumbling. We are in exciting times of direct access, from commerce to ecommerce where manufacturers and makers can go directly to their customer.

    Today, writers can readily speak directly with their readers. Not only is it an option, but connecting with your audience of customers and prospective customers directly it’s essential to grow and thrive as a creator.

    The gatekeeper industries are disappearing in every area from religion to entertainment, commerce to education, science and space. Identify what you want to do, then start learning and doing.

    Gaining a foothold in today’s rapidly change world of transforming systems can be challenging. But instead of trying to find a concrete place to perch and hold on for dear life… a skill to learn and know and do for the rest of your life, embrace the continuous tide of change in the shifting sands of time.

    The times they are a-changing. Jump in and play at the uneven water’s edge and skip along with the waves of change.

    “Creators don’t need college to create.”
    ~LeAura Alderson,®

"Creators don't need college to create." ~LeAura Alderson, #ReasonsNotToGoToCollege #CollegeDebt #StudentLoanDebt #AlternativeEducation #SettingGoals #StudentDebtFacts #CollegeMemes #AchieveYourGoals

    Trade Schools

    In all of this so far, we haven’t yet even touched on trade schools. Vocational training is a practical and far less expensive way to save time and money while acquiring highly employable skills in work of your choice.

    She Chose Culinary School Over College

    Excerpt from Fox Business

    For Raposo, the decision to go to culinary school was easy. Convincing her parents was the hard part.

    She wrote a 20-page essay analyzing why it would make more sense to go to cooking school than the route she says all her friends were taking, a conventional four-year degree. Her most formidable argument? She estimated her freshman year at Bryn Mawr would cost $60,000, while a nine-month pastry chef course would cost $25,000.
    ~Fox Business article on Trade Schools

    Claire Raposo opened her business, The Lost Lamb Patisserie, a year later at age 19 and thinking of multiple locations by age 20. WAY to GO CLAIRE!!

    Certification in 12 Weeks

    Shannon DeAnna Schofield, an author, beekeeper and business owner said, “This is so true. Now I’m not saying we don’t need doctors and scientists that require college. But by far, the jobs in demand are in trades. Welding is one of the most in-demand jobs now. A quick 12 week school is enough to be certified and start working.

    I’m a high school drop out, myself. I did go to trade school to learn accounting. I immediately got a great paying job after. It’s helped me manage my own company today. College is overrated for most people in today’s world.
    ~Shannon DeAnna Schofield, an author, beekeeper, b.2/23/1977

    Trade-school enrollment has also risen, from 9.6 million students in 1999 to 16 million in 2014. 
    ~The Atlantic

    Principles for Education for Today

    Excerpted from Peter Diamandis

    “I imagine a relatively near-term future in which robotics and artificial intelligence will allow any of us, from ages 8 to 108, to easily and quickly find answers, create products or accomplish tasks, all simply by expressing our desires.

    From ‘mind to manufactured in moments.’ In short, we’ll be able to do and create almost whatever we want.

    In this future, what attributes will be most critical for our children to learn to become successful in their adult life?

    What’s most important for educating our children today? For me it’s about passion, curiosity, imagination, critical thinking and grit.
    ~Peter Diamandis, X-Prize founder, cofounder – Singularity University, author, b.5/20/1961

    Attributes Needed for the New Education

    1. Passion
    2. Curiosity
    3. Imagination
    4. Critical Thinking
    5. Grit/Persistence


    We can imagine that in such a world—that world which we’ve already irrevocably entered today—that the best higher education will be needs based directly around the area of passion. Further, today’s easy access education approach fosters the freedom to expand your skills in multiple areas and to evolve as you do.

    Learn what you need to learn when you want to learn it, driven by what you want to accomplish and guided by market and mentor feedback.

    That universities would encourage students to start their adult life with such huge student debt is a travesty of the education system.
    ~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

    Design Your Life

    As a part of your decision making process for your education, remember that it’s your privilege and prerogative to design your life. It is, after all, yours.

    Your Happiness Matters

    There’s another HUGE reason to heed this: your happiness! Yep… reasons not to go to college include your happiness!!

    It sounds obvious, however, we see far too many people over 40 unhappily stuck in uncreative jobs, or retiring from years doing what they had to and now they’re trying to reconnect with their “want to”. No one ever sets out going to college thinking they’ll be unhappy with the career that leads to, yet it happens all too often.

    Time to create the life you want to live, one day at a time. ❤️???®

    Some people are saying this is a new generation of entrepreneurs because they’re looking at what seemingly may be chaos, and finding opportunity.
    ~Gerri Willis, TV journalist, b.8/14/1959

    SOURCE: Fox Business segment on Trade Schools

    TEDx by Dave Evans

    You will enjoy this entertaining TEDx talk by Dave Evans, Cofounder-Stanford Life Design Lab. Note his quote, and remember… while 80% of college graduates are not working in a job associated with their degree in 5-10 years, they are likely still paying their student debt.

    This is expounded on in this documentary titled Broke, Busted and Disgusted.

    “Within 5-10 years after graduation, 80% of college graduates are working outside their field of baccalaureate study.”
    ~Dave Evans, cofounder-Stanford Life Design Lab, 

    SOURCE: Design Your Life TEDx, Liverpool

    You can design your life with Dave’s help in his course on CreativeLive.

    Gary Vaynerchuk’s on Reasons Not to Go to College

    As a mega successful entrepreneur who has experience both, a college degree as well as “on the job training” through experiential learning by just doing, Gary Vaynerchuk (AKA Gary Vee) has an astute perspective to consider.

    WARNING: Gary swears incessantly, as what he calls his “Jersey boy” habit. So if swearing turns you off, do NOT tune into this. However, if you can tolerate the rough edges, you’ll get some gems of no-nonsense wisdom from this mega successful entrepreneur, marketing genius and creative brand builder who does not mince words to tells it like it is.

    Comments from the Community

    Lost in School

    By Donna Gillis

    “Education is so important. I remember feeling lost in school, and wish I went to a trade school. They had them back then. I too did not go to college. We need to give teenagers an interest that may lead them into a career. Bring out the genius in everyone. For we all are a genius within.”
    Donna Gillis, quilter, quilting teacher

    Loved (Most of) College

    By Lynda Suzanne Wright, retired music teacher, artist, composer, writer

    Long post about the college education conversation, so skip it if you want to! Yes, I grew up in a family where I was encouraged (not pushed) to go for it. But here’s the rub. It wasn’t their decision. What college taught me was that the world was bigger than I was…bigger than my small town…and even the courses that I took that were not “needed” in my life taught me things: geology, physics, religion. All of them broadened my world.

    Encouraged but not Pushed

    Long post about the college education conversation, so skip it if you want to! Yes, I grew up in a family where I was encouraged (not pushed) to go for it. But here’s the rub. It wasn’t their decision. What college taught me was that the world was bigger than I was…bigger than my small town…and even the courses that I took that were not “needed” in my life taught me things: geology, physics, religion. All of them broadened my world.

    A Little Rebellious

    The paper was about 30 pages long when I finished, and I knew I was proud of it, and would USE it, so I tried not to think about the prof’s ire once he would realize I had not followed the assignment. I took it in to him. He simply felt the weight of the paper, ruffled his hand through the pages, then marked a red A+ on the cover sheet and handed it back. I just said thank you and left!

    I felt like such a rebel! But I was so TICKED that he didn’t even read it—at the same time, I also realized that those of us who used those new techniques would continue to develop more and more.
    NOTE: most of my teachers were not quite that behind the times.

    Every facet of my education, classes, master classes, travel, grad school & the zillion recitals…were challenges and creative inspiration!

    For me, life has been NOT a maze…but a labyrinth…where what at first seems a dead end becomes merely a turn in the road.
    ~Lynda Suzanne Wright, retired music teacher, artist, composer, writer

    Find Your Own Path

    But friends, here’s the thing: none of us has the right to decide for others how to educate themselves; rather, we should help inquirers find their own paths. I have the clarity of knowing how to value my choices. And all of these have led me here — from an Auntie Mame during my teens —to the voice teacher who encouraged me not to go to a school where I could easily be a big fish in a little pond.

    “Friends, none of us has the right to decide for others how to educate themselves; rather, we should help inquirers find their own paths.”
    ~Lynda Suzanne Wright, retired music teacher, artist, composer, writer

    A Universal Truth

    So once I had some direction, what I needed literally fell into my lap when a generous patron stepped in to finance my education. That left my parents and the other 3 kids not quite so worried about all of our futures.

    Once I had some direction, what I needed literally fell into my lap when a generous patron stepped in to finance my education.
    ~Lynda Suzanne Wright, retired music teacher, artist, composer, writer


    I feel that I have gained strength from the difficulties, performing, papers, student teaching — plus competition, not only of singer vs. singer, but fighting the prejudice at the time that men should teach secondary school, and women should stick with elementary. And now I mentor young teachers in our area when requested…I see former students often…and use all of that energy to make art! I am so fortunate to have made the friendships and associations through the arts and teaching.

    I love all the resources suggested here to further our educations in the arts and entrepreneurship, and I know there are many who are availing themselves of them. Good conversation, and yes, it did ruffle my feathers a bit, but only because I believe there is no ONE good answer for everyone.

    Education Means Access – no Matter the Means

    By Sally Kirkpatrick, retired teacher, writer, photographer, mother of 5

    I agree completely with Lynda’s view and experience. I taught sixth graders for 20 years, starting at the age of 39. My education took 20 years and included having our children, living in Canada for a while and navigating marriage. My parents valued learning and curiosity. Understood different paths and always were sharing their life’s experience and knowledge.

    We have five children and none have taken a traditional path, but all are educated in the areas they’ve chosen. As well as nature, the environment, music, religion, politics and philosophy. Because we, their parents, felt education should be inclusive and exclusive as well. Learn your history and become a master welder or business entrepreneur.

    Education to be an educated person, critical thinking skills and problem solving by understanding those who have come before while embracing innovation and creativity.

    Education and formal education, allows everyone access to more doors, more choices. And the ability to make choices for yourself. To open those doors you choose to open.

    Thank you for your perspective.

    Education… allows everyone access to more doors, more choices, and the ability to make choices for yourself. To open those doors you choose to open.
    ~Sally Kirkpatrick, retired teacher, writer, photographer, mother of 5

    Editor’s Note

    We agree with Lynda and Sally too!

    Our Primary Purpose and Point

    Our primary purpose of this entire article is to open the discussion and alleviate assumptions so that everyone can choose the best educational path for themselves.


    1. Learning and growth are vital to life.
    2. Education is essential. College may not be.
    3. Paths are many, choose based on your interests over traditional assumptions.

    ~LeAura Alderson, cofounder –®

    “If you get good at a type of technology, you’ll find yourself using it often. On the other hand, if you decide that you’re somehow untalented at it (which is nonsense) or don’t take the time, then you’ll have sacrificed leverage and confidence that were offered to you.

    Of course, it’s not just Sheets, or the web, or even computers. It’s a posture of possibility when it comes to the tools we’re able to use.”

    ~Seth Godin, visionary, author, speaker, teacher, b.7/10/1960

    Seth’s article on doing well in school is very relevant here too.

    “I’m not [dissing] college. I’m cheerleading for self awareness. There’s no such thing as one thing works for everyone.”
    ~Gary Vaynerchuk, Russian-American magnate, author, b.11/14/1975

    Trade School Versus College

    These days, blue collar service positions come at a hefty price. Subsequently, they can be better paying jobs without going to college. For many blue collar positions, one or two trade school semesters is all you need to be ready to work.

    While these may not be artistic professions, you can be creative wherever you go, in whatever it is you’re doing. Creativity is an attitude as much as a process.

    Get Gratitude.

    The Day is the Way.

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