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Friday, October 24, 2014 | Last updated: 6:34am

Dropouts give reason to question worth of higher education



When was the last time you attended a lecture and thought, “This is a really productive use of my time?”

The answer is probably never, but even if you’re one of the few that replied with “often,” there’s no reason you couldn’t simply read a textbook and get the same education you do watching a teacher regurgitate PowerPoint slides that haven’t been edited since he or she was hired.

Not only would you be able to learn on your own time, you could save the absurd amount of money it costs to attend college in the first place. And instead of posing as pseudo-adults who still rely on monthly checks from Mommy and Daddy, passing away class time on Facebook or drinking heavily every weekend, you could be advancing your career or making a difference in the world now instead of post-graduation.

Maybe you think that sounds insane or inaccurate, and that people who don’t go to college are often screwed later in life while competing against their “better-educated peers.” But, according to The New York Times, in an article called “Saying No to College,” that’s not really true.

There’s this movie called the Social Network about this thing called Facebook, and the guy who dropped out of college to invent it, Mark Zuckerberg.

Then there’s Bill Gates, another dropout who invented the operating system that’s pretty much responsible for the functionality of millions of computers around the world.

And remember Steve Jobs? He never graduated, instead focusing his efforts towards founding the all-consuming, ever-expanding tech company that is Apple.

But people like those men are the exception, and not the rule, right? For now, maybe, but the Times article also drops a few names you might not have heard of who are off to a similarly lucrative start.

Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams dropped out of college to create Twitter in 2006, and that’s doing pretty well financially. Digg, a social news website, was started by dropout Kevin Rose in 2004, and David Karp, the inventor of Tumblr and a high school dropout, was valued at $800 million in 2011.

There are even more names in the article, and while most of them are making their innovations online, these dropouts are good examples for those questioning the validity of higher education.

If you have an idea to change the world and the drive to make it happen, why spend tens of thousands of dollars on educating yourself when you could instead go straight to making tens of thousands of dollars – and more?

Although some professions, like becoming a doctor, actually require spending time in college in order to obtain a license to practice, higher education and a college degree aren’t always the necessity many make it out to be — especially not when good work experience has proved to be a better teacher all along.

— Jason Krell is the copy chief for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @Jason_Krell .


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