Dropping out of college - what would you do?

104 Replies

Hey everyone,

I am 20-years old at Temple University with 3 semesters left before I graduate. I recently decided to switch from studying/working in the IT industry to Real Estate. I have worked in a property management company for 1.5 years and am currently partnering in a 6-unit construction project with my father and a developer we know. I am trying to decide if it is worth to switch to a Real Estate major and finishing my semesters to get my Real Estate degree VS. working under a successful developer full-time and dropping out of school. I am leaning more towards dropping out and working full-time under our developer who will teach me ins-and-outs of RE development, investment, and management. I feel like I would learn the most and be best prepared learning under his mentorship than wasting 1.5 years studying RE theory in school. Our developer agreed to help with any costs related to my learning (i.e. any textbooks, online courses, etc) and hire me full-time. I will get my Real Estate license while working under him. 

Do I need a formal business degree in Real Estate to get a job in the industry or is it just my experience and expertise that counts? What would you guys do having worked already and been successful in this industry?

Thanks for all your help in advanced!

Shray

Can you do both?

 You are really close--3 semesters. And the degree may open some options and be a nice credential you have for life. Going back gets really costly too (lost credits, changed programs, life changes, etc). Now is an ideal time.

Maybe seek the once or twice a week courses (maybe even some online if Temple does them). Then you could squeeze in both some real estate and traditional college.

And does your school have summer sessions with classes you need? If so, you may be able to wrap up this summer (Fall, Spring, Summer). 

I would probably only do  the degree switch (to real estate) if it did not add much time/costs. Much of that learning can be done on your own as you indicate (universities are churning out real estate investors for example).

Have you college books on one shelf and your REI books on another, switch back and forth. Maybe see if the developed can make the gig a paid internship (which lots of students do) and try half days and weekends or 3 days a week to mesh...

Best of luck!

I personally vote for finishing your IT degree. You can build up your real estate business on your own without a degree. IT would be a great field to get into with a degree because they tend to pay well and this can help you get on your feet and fund your future REIs. If you have trouble with RE, you will have IT to fall back on. I say don't put all your eggs in one basket. You can even just do IT on the side for extra money (even via online gigs) if you end up not needing it full time later down the road.

@Nicole W. Thanks for the advice Nicole! That is what a lot of people have told me to finish my IT degree and keep that as a back-up. I personally did not enjoy the 2 positions I had within IT so far and the work I done there. It is definitely not my passion at all and would be something I hate doing but keep just for the money. You may be right that its more practical to tough-out working in IT for the first few years to get the money for future REIs. Do you know of any careers within Real Estate that can give me a salary to help build my real estate business later?

Originally posted by @Nicole W.:

I personally vote for finishing your IT degree. You can build up your real estate business on your own without a degree. IT would be a great field to get into with a degree because they tend to pay well and this can help you get on your feet and fund your future REIs. If you have trouble with RE, you will have IT to fall back on. I say don't put all your eggs in one basket. You can even just do IT on the side for extra money (even via online gigs) if you end up not needing it full time later down the road.

@Michael Boyer - thanks for the advice!

I can definitely do both and I can switch and finish my Real Estate degree without any extra time/costs. I am torn with trying to see if its truly worth paying to finish my college degree just so I can have it as a "nice credential". Taking summer classes would cost me double the price for the classes because my scholarship doesn't count for the summer. I would pay a total of $20,000 to finish my degree. I could do the job for 2 days a week and 3 days in school OR go all-in with 5 days a week under the developer.

The position with the developer would be 25 hours paid at $8/hr starting and 15 hours no-pay for reading/courses/learning. 



Originally posted by @Michael Boyer:

Can you do both?

 You are really close--3 semesters. And the degree may open some options and be a nice credential you have for life. Going back gets really costly too (lost credits, changed programs, life changes, etc). Now is an ideal time.

Maybe seek the once or twice a week courses (maybe even some online if Temple does them). Then you could squeeze in both some real estate and traditional college.

And does your school have summer sessions with classes you need? If so, you may be able to wrap up this summer (Fall, Spring, Summer). 

I would probably only do  the degree switch (to real estate) if it did not add much time/costs. Much of that learning can be done on your own as you indicate (universities are churning out real estate investors for example).

Have you college books on one shelf and your REI books on another, switch back and forth. Maybe see if the developed can make the gig a paid internship (which lots of students do) and try half days and weekends or 3 days a week to mesh...

Best of luck!

*DO NOT* drop out of school. If you wanted to go a different route, you would have wanted to do that a whole lot earlier than with 3 semesters to finish. 3 semesters is nothing and one day you will be glad you got that degree, whether you work in RE or not. Trust me on that as someone with a doctorate. I have 9 years of post-high school college education, and I have never thought "Gee, I wish I would have dropped out", and this is from someone that almost did drop out twice!

There is nothing that you will learn in the next 3 semesters of college that will make you a better investor. That money would be better spent at a real estate investing seminar for a weekend. You will learn more from doing a deal than anything a classroom can teach you. You need to know how to find deals on property, market property, and how to sell. Not sell property, but sell investors on why they should invest their money in a deal with you.

This advice is only if you are convinced that real estate investing is the way you want to go. Getting your license is not necessary to be successful in real estate investing, but it will allow you to move faster on viewing property, researching comparable sales, and making offers.

@Shray Patel - Did you say $8/hour? That's not even minimum wage?? I don't even think that legal unless he is paying you under the table, which seems sketchy in general.

Definitely do no drop out. IT degree provides a reliable back up....I say finish that. You don't need a real estate degree to be a rei.

Shray as everyone has chimed in I too would hang in there and get your IT degree.  3 Semesters will be over before you know it and you will have that degree for the rest of your life.  They can take your money, property, etc. away from you but they can't take your education.  A degree in most fields will open doors that a person that doesn't have the degree won't be able to open.  I have a 55 year old cousin that has been successful several times in life that doesn't have a degree.  The problem is when her employer downsizes, goes out of business etc., she ends up going back to a minimum wage job. and has to start all over. 

It baffles me when people get so close to graduating and then drop out..... you have been running a  marathon and you want to stop running at the last mile? Not smart..... you are caught up in the moment and not thinking long term. Finish your school, whether you change majors or not. Don't set a precedent of quitting before you finish commitments.

I am a firm believer that you don't have to go to college to be successful. There are plenty of ways to learn, grow and thrive in life without going to college to do it. Sometimes learning in the real world and by getting your hands dirty in the trenches with mentors is way better than stuff you learn in a classrrom.....no doubt.....But you are so close to achieving something that you have been working hard to achieve...why quit now? If you still had a couple of years to go, then sure...but 3 semesters?...my advice is to finish.

You wont regret finishing, but you may very well regret not finishing

I am inclined to agree you should continue your education to get your degree.  I would be curious about what the developer can teach you.  It may be a good opportunity.  How successful is he?  Have you identified the various skills you want to learn?  At what point can you use these new skills to go out on your own, and what do you want to accomplish?

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@Shray Patel Mentorships will always be available...maybe not with this developer but with others you may meet on here or on your REI path. A college degree would be great to fall back on if REI did not work out for you.

Getting a W2 job is also not the worst idea as it will provide you with steady income making you look more attractive to lenders. A lot of money can be made in IT to assist you financially.

You are young, you have all the time in the world...3 semesters will not kill you lol

Finish up the IT degree.

@Shray Patel

It depends on how you feel about leaving things unfinished. If you quit then you have wasted your time and money that you have spent up to this point. If you carry on and push through, then decide that you want to work in Real Estate then you at least have a fall back should things change. 

No you dont need anything except a good plan and network to get into real estate. 

If you work really hard you can do both at the same time, it wil show that you are committed and can handle high work load and stress. 

Just my $0.02

@Shray Patel it makes no sense to drop out of school three semesters from completion. Just being able to have the credential of a college graduate with a Bachelors degree has huge value. It shows you have discipline and intelligence. Technology is invading every business and industry. Being a real estate professional with IT experience will only help bolster your credentials as a tech savvy investor.

I have an IT degree (BBA MIS) and I work in marketing tech products. My part time gig is real estate. My day job funds my real estate. I am happily doing both. 

One final thought about education is that no matter what happens in life, nobody can take a college degree away from you. You can lose your job, lose your investments, lose all your money, but in the end you have that degree. My company will not hire anyone for an office job without a four year degree. The exact degree doesn't matter in some cases, but they must have a degree or the application gets tossed. 

Either way it's more of what you will do than what you can do. It's about action rather than just thinking about it. Nothing will happen until something moves. We are in the information ages and the advance of technology and the greater connectivity of internet, the flow of information is at a highest level ever. Information are flowing at the speed of light, that what you need and want to know are at your finger tips. What you need to be sure of is where your heart is, because to be successful, desire...an emotional component is a requisite for success. If your desire is in real estate, start doing something about, it. Take some courses, on line or others, read books, go to seminars and do some intern at local real estate places.  Learn fast, get some hand-on practice, and start. When you invest, time, money and sweat in a project, your focus and dedication are all in the same place and learning can be accelerated.....as they said, experience is your best teacher. 

When you have time, complete, your IT because you're almost finish. You may learn more from the remaining upper-courses that you have not yet taken. Any thing you learn is additional information you can accumulate as benefit. As I said, we are in the information age, and the more information you have, the wealthier your are. I believe you will make the right choice...because making one is a progress, you are moving forward. Gook luck. 

8 dollars isn’t much...you’d probably make at least 3 times that after graduation. RE is great but it’s also much easier with a steady W2 job. Finish school is what I’d say. Then do RE and then go back to school down the road. Education is still the best predictor Of overall financial health

The question is whether or not that developer will be there for you after you finish school. Nothing beats experience. You can get a degree pretty much anytime down the road. An education is a safe net for those who are looking to make average incomes. Nothing wrong with it, you just have to define what you really want to do with your life. You're getting paid to learn from a developer, it can't get any better than that.

Hi Shray, I'm adding my vote for completing your degree. Switching to a real estate major might not make sense at this point if that means more time/money before you get a degree. Most real estate jobs do not require a real estate-specific degree. But simply having a four-year degree has long-term economic value that will help give you one of the most important ingredients for building wealth: OPTIONS. Not having a four-year degree of some kind closes so many doors that you might want walk through in the future. HR departments are quite ruthless about degree requirements! 

Please keep in mind that many entrepreneurs and investors leverage stable, well-paying W-2 jobs while growing their portfolios and businesses (read the excellent Phil Knight autobiography Shoe Dog for a great example of this.)  Brian Murray, real estate investor and author of Crushing It In Apartments and Commercial Real Estate, is another example.

One thing you might want to do is ask an advisor to review your transcript to identify whether or not you are eligible for options that could reduce the time/money needed to complete your degree, such as pass/fail CLEP tests. (When I was in college, I took CLEP tests for Comparative Religion and Philosophy - feel free to PM me if you want to know more about how this works!)

I love you are already light years ahead of most of your college peers in terms of business and investing. If you keep up what you are doing AND finish your degree, you will have a very strong base from which to build your life and career. You are off to a great start!

@Shray Patel As others have mentioned, you can do both. Perhaps you can combine your IT degree in the field of real estate when you finish up. Good luck! 

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I did 2 years of college. We all were business owners and looked around saying what are we doing here? I had a full tuition pay from my father passing decades ago. So my friends and I left to go after other ventures. 

I always knew I wanted to be an business owner. You just feel it when you know you do not want to live like 90% of the population does in the fish bowl and rat race.

I disagree about doing something you are not passionate about. I read about 1,000 pages or more of real estate a week. I love it so it never gets old to me. So I always want to get better. Doing something because you have to and it gives no enjoyment you will not want to improve constantly  at it as the passion will not be there.

I took the mindset that I would never work for anyone else again. You make that choice and never look back and make it work. If your mind is telling you that let me try this but if it gets hard I have this crutch of a degree to fall back on that is a defeatist attitude from the start.

No legal advice given. 

@Shray Patel

Ayee bro look....screw everything everyone saying. First of all. if you not feeling the IT thing then guess what?? Screw it. Yupp call it wasted time..so what..We're the same age...and Im a Full-Time Investor as well, Served in the Marine Corps, got out, and now Invest full time. Check this out...Earl Nightingale teaches that Our rewards in life are in direct proportion to our contribution our service, broken down for a man or women who works an everyday J.O.B? What you get paid is based on the need for what you do, your ability in doing it, and the difficulty in replacing you in doing it. In a nutshell..if you want to increase your income..then increase the service you provide. That service should be somthing your passionate about. But as for REI..oh man I'll just copy and paste what I sent to another thread...Guy asked about whether to "buy a 25k course" to teach him how to invest.

"They say once you get to a certain position of success in your Investing career you'll realize your time is valuable. Negative. When you are first starting is when the time is the most valuable. You can A spend hours and hours on the web watching hour and a half long videos, be clueless of where to go, get sold a training that costs 5k plus (for information that you can learn on the web for free if you look hard enough, bigger pockets,crinoline, youtube, google, reitipster, ..the list goes on forever. We're in the digital age guys) or...you can just find a Real, Straightforward Investor to Mentor you. and if he's ligit and not a greedy crook. He or she will just be straight up and teach you what works, not drag it out.....over a hour...or in some cases a couple months.. Its all really the same business. Whether your wholesaling ( residential or commercial) fix and flipping, or buy and holding. With wholesale...find a seller in a distressed situation, connect make an offer, get a contract signed then sell it. (Assign, double close, quit claim..w.e your preference lol) stack your cash ...take it the next step ( Or if you've a silver tongue use OPM..other peoples money..give em 6% on their money in interest only payments).... ..fix and flip.. same steps except this time guess what? You close on the property yourself..by now you should have a feel for the game, know how to get sweet deals for the low low and more importantly know how to calculate repairs...yup..close on it yourself...no end buyer no assignments..that 40k profit is all yours..... hire a contracting company or if your a hands-on guy...(youtube) visit home depot and start rehabbing. Fast forward 3 months..ready to either sell it on the market..or...since it's yours ...start hunting for a tenant ( don't do it...just flip it honestly, renting out SFR is by far...just silly..having one tenant really??Ayee again some do it, it works I guess). Personally, prefer Multifamily..either start with 5-20...(target mom and pop) or be like good ole Grant Cardone and target only 35 plus units ( ps. that's when OPM comes in handy)...oh man There's so much...And by the way, all that knowledge was gathered for FREE. nope...didn't pay a dime. In the end its all about leveraging your time..and finding out who REALLY knows the know how. A man doesn't make 100k a year because he wishes to...he does so because he's unaware of how to do it in a month.... (lol there's some pretty good wholesalers out there doing that now)..oh man...If you've followed this far you see what I mean by finding a Knowledgable Straight Foward Investor. Why spend 4 months learning what should take a day..come onnnnnn...lol

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