Proof That You Don’t Need A University Degree

Image by Chris Gilbert

I’ve thought long and hard about this over the years (both as a former student and teacher at university). And now I’m certain I’ve come up with logical reasons why you have NO need whatsoever for a university degree.

Are you ready to hear the truth?

Well, first of all you need to HONESTLY ask yourself: why am I going to university?

“To get a job”

If the answer is the typical (and completely unimaginative) “to get a job” response, then there’s tonnes of evidence to prove that your “degree” won’t help you at all.

And if it DOES help you, it will most likely deliver you into a mind-numbing, entry-level bureaucratic job that was vacated by some old guy who never needed a degree in the first place.

So unless you want to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, school teacher, or nurse (basically any career where you need a qualification BY LAW), then all other degrees are, truly, OPTIONAL.

So there goes that answer.

“To learn about…”

But what if you answer – “because I want to learn about [insert some area of knowledge here]“?

Again, irrelevant.

If you’re not like the vast majority of students entering university (who are solely there because of the misguided “to get a job” belief above), you actually have a thirst for knowledge already.

And if you have this thirst for knowledge already, then you are, no doubt, a driven and motivated individual to begin with. So why the hell do you need to go to a primitive, outdated institution, incur a huge debt, and be told what to do, what to study, and when to do it? Are you that much of a sado-masochist?

Self-directed learning is the only way to go

Why not just use your existing motivation and drive to conduct your own self-directed learning instead? Chances are you’ll learn things quicker, and you’ll actually be years ahead of the dated material they usually teach at universities anyway.

The truth is that gone are the days where the only way you could attain high level knowledge was from exclusive, expensive text books, and exclusive lectures presented by “Professors”.

Gone are the days of a world where knowledge was the exclusive domain of a select few individuals.

Gone are the days of having to go to a library to look at an encyclopaedia, because your family didn’t have $5,000 to pay that nice door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman.

Universities, for the most part, are a relic of that sort of era.

What you need instead

The very medium you’re using to read this article now is ALL THAT YOU NEED.

The web.

It’s all here for the taking.

This is an UNPRECEDENTED moment in our history. Never before has knowledge and information been so open, cheap and accessible. And yet we’re still making people feel like they must go to university to learn something?? Surely I’m not the only one to see the absurdity here?!

Ignore the mainstream

Don’t let mainstream society’s erroneous views about university education convince you that university is where you need to go.

Remember, mainstream society is usually a decade or more behind the curve – in EVERYTHING. Are you going to follow a mindless herd, or are you going to step up and take things to another level? If it’s the latter, the world needs you now.

Oh, and if you’re a parent, do your kids a HUGE favour – stop force feeding them the illusion of the “university degree”. It’s bullshit, and deep down YOU KNOW IT.

Degrees, once upon a time, were valuable. But that time has now gone.

About Adam Wozniak

Adam Wozniak is the founder and writer of Encouragement from a Stranger. He believes in the importance of encouraging people to think, question things, and live life on their own terms. Or something like that... – www.AdamWozniak.com

Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    I agree that people don’t need a degree for the majority of jobs out there (apart from the one’s you’ve mentioned which legally require qualifications), but to be competitive against the hordes of job seekers degree qualifications have always helped to give ‘the edge’ over others.
    I’ve heard a few different employers say they prefer applicants who have a university qualification because it’s evidence that the applicant can perform research tasks, is motivated to improve their knowledge and develop professionally, and has a good attendance rate (although this wouldn’t apply to online degrees). Is that worth $20,000-$40,000? Probably not. But it might give a you a slight advantage (most people have a degree these days) when competing for the average office job. :P
    Also, you forgot to mention professional accounting! It’s difficult to be considered a credible accountant without some form of registration with an association (like CPA, CA, NIA, etc), which requires an accounting degree.

  2. Lauren says:

    It’s great to pursue interests, but that path is similar to the ‘I want to be a professional artist’ career – which means working a job you probably hate to secure financial support (unless you plan on living with your parents for another 10years, or worse, dealing with Centrelink!).

    The trick is to balance earned income with pursuing interests, and developing those interests into an income stream while working a job for financial support. Hopefully the area of interest will eventually develop into the main income-earning activity.

    I suppose it also depends on what one’s goals are, if you plan to have your own house, or a family, or a relatively new car, then you need money for those things. If not, then living with your parents or slumming it in a share house might be ok.

    I’d be the first to agree that at least %50 of my tertiary studies were a waste of time, but that’s because I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. I was pushed into uni studies because that was the mentality at the time. Eventually one of my degrees landed me a job, kind of under the table, at the university where I got the degree…

  3. Adam Wozniak says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I’ve got to disagree with your points this time around.

    > to be competitive against the hordes of job seekers degree
    > qualifications have always helped to give ‘the edge’ over others.

    That’s PRECISELY the illusion I want to shatter. It’s simply not true. It’s just mantra repeated by those who are well entrenched in the system.

    Employers are ultimately after SKILLS.

    > But it might give a you a slight advantage (most people have a
    > degree these days) when competing for the average office job.

    As I mention in my article, if you’re merely going for a mind-numbing average office job, then sure – a university degree might help you there (although even that’s no longer a guarantee – since, as you observe too, most people have a degree now anyway, so it’s pretty pointless joining that herd).

    My ultimate point is: develop and pursue your interests. For most people, that’s going to mean “don’t bother going to university”, because what they actually need won’t be found there.

  4. Adam Wozniak says:

    > It’s great to pursue interests, but that path is similar to the ‘I want
    > to be a professional artist’ career

    I disagree. Your definition of “interests” is way too narrow.

    If you look at the backgrounds of many of the most successful people on Earth (successful as in they’re doing what they love, and making quite a decent living at it), very few of them went to college/university (and when they did, they often dropped out).

    Names off the top of my head include: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerberg, a whole list of successful filmmakers, game developers, etc

    These people took the time to find, and develop, their passions. While doing that, some of them worked average jobs on the side to make ends meet. But they at least didn’t waste time doing a degree on top of that.

    > which means working a job you
    > probably hate to secure financial support

    The irony there is that if you don’t pursue your interests, you’re going to end up working a job you hate anyway.

    > The trick is to balance earned income with pursuing interests,
    > and developing those interests into an income stream while
    > working a job for financial support. Hopefully the area of interest
    > will eventually develop into the main income-earning activity.

    Ok, sure – that’s an approach one can use. And notice that it’s an approach you can do WITHOUT going to university.

    > I’d be the first to agree that at least %50 of my tertiary studies
    > were a waste of time, but that’s because I had no idea what
    > career I wanted to pursue.

    That’s EXACTLY my point.

    > Eventually one of my degrees landed me a job, kind of under the
    > table, at the university where I got the degree

    And the job you got, as you imply, didn’t really have anything to do with you having a degree.

    All of these points simply further reflect what I was saying in my article above.

  5. Vicky says:

    I agree with you Adam. A degree does not seem to make us stand out because every man and his dog these days has a degree. Something more than that is required – relevant work experience is the key.

    Which is my problem, I have the degree but don’t have the relevant work experience. Nor can I get it, because no employers will give me a chance.

    The best job I can get with my four year degree is working on the check-outs in a shop – a job which I could have just as easily got without wasting four years at university.

    So don’t bother – these days a degree is a waste of time because everyone has one. Get the experience, preferably paid, if you can (i have voluntary experience, but apparantly I need paid experience instead).