A few days ago a young man called Ibrahim reached out to me. He has found a featured article of mine on Udacity and decided that he wanted to get some advice from me. When he found out that I never went to college, he was pretty surprised. He always thought that you have to go to college to become successful.
"But... I still don't understand how come a person can get a job without a college degree?" - Ibrahim
Those are the times when I realize the bubble most of us live in. Many people I talk to daily don't even think about going to college - there are way too many alternatives for it out there now: Bootcamps, Lambda School, Self-Teaching. Most modern companies don't care about a degree anyway, the debt just isn't worth it.
However, it's not the first time I've heard this. Young people prior to college - not people already deeply involved in the tech and startup scene, listen to their parents, look at movies, read articles and think that the pre-defined path of going to college, finding a stable job, buying a house, ... is the only way to go. Even worse: Many people think that the US is the only worthwhile place to get a degree. The much, much cheaper options in the UK/Switzerland are not even an option. The result of this? Tons of Dropouts, left without a degree and a huge chunk of debt.
Now, I don't want to say that going to college is a bad option. The contrary - I believe for many people it is the absolutely right option: It's a good place to form a social circle, to network, to get a proper education (in many cases) and to have a good time (I have never heard anyone say that they have regretted going to college). What I want to say is that it's important to give young people in your life an idea of the paths that are out there and let them choose their own.