Dropping out of college

209 Replies

@Bill F. The problem I see with studies like you shared is that they assume the benefits to somebody graduating college today are the same as they were 10, 20, 30, and 40 years ago. That is just not true. If anything the data points do more to show how different the opportunity has become. The job market and economy simply don't work that way. A degree in 1970 meant something that doesn't carry the same weight today. In the early 2000s when I was in high school, the litigation world was accelerating and there was a shortage of lawyers. Those graduating with a law degrees in 1999-2000 and passing the Barr exam we're almost guaranteed a $90k/year starting salary. I heard it all over the place and many of my peers went to law school. The problem is that the story was over hyped and too many people did it. I know several lawyer peers who had to work retail jobs or unpaid internships while they searched for firms hiring for years. Many of these firms raised their criteria due to an excess of applicants making it a requirement to have passed the California Barr to work in FL or NY. They thought they had it made and did not, needing to aim even higher. What worked for my grandparents did not work for my parents. What worked for my parents didn't work for my generation. So giving advice based on comparing college degrees of 60 year olds today has no relevance to whether a 19 year old will see the same benefits 40 years from today. College once set graduates apart from "the rest". Then it had to be a master's because everyone gets bachelor's degrees, now everyone goes for masters so I know people in their 30s going for PhDs to further distinguish themselves. It's an uphill battle when you follow the masses. These long term studies must be taken with a grain of salt due to the changing economic climate over the decades since the longest case studies graduated...

@Jaden Adams

A couple things to consider.

1. How do you know that real estate is supposed to be your future and your passion?

I am all for pausing school while you gain some experience, but I think it's naive to say something is your future if you haven't done it yet. To me, it sounds like you might be in love with the idea of real estate. When the reality can be different.

2. Not all schools cost 100K. For example, for my home state, AZ in state tuition is under 10K a year, plus there are grants and scholarships. There are multiple continuing education solutions.

@Jaden Adams

Personally, I am 15 years removed from dropping out of college and pursuing a career. I knew 2 weeks into my college career I made a mistake. I stuck it out for two more semesters before making the decision to go to work and build towards my future. I never regret one minute of it.

I spent the next 14 years working 70+ hours a week and being very diligent about my finances. I was able to build a nest egg of several 100 hundred thousand dollars. From which I have now payed my house off and started my REI career and have been able to slow my work career down to 45 hours a week.

You simply need to ask yourself why you went to college in the first place. If you went because you have been taught through today’s society it’s the only way to succeed or the most prudent thing to do. You are there for the wrong reason.

If you are willing and you make yourself capable, you will not fail in whichever direction you choose. Good luck!

@Jaden Adams - Hi Jaden, I'm writing to you as an architect who left the field to go into real estate development. While college is undeniably expensive, not following through will cap your professional growth (if that's something you're interested if at all). 

Getting a license to buy/sell real estate is great way to enter the business, but you'll find that there are so many facets to real estate (acquisition, management, underwriting, financing, legal, tax, design, etc....) that you might eventually become interested in. Not having a degree at that point, will become a huge hindrance for you to get access to that kind of knowledge.


 

But you are 19 years old though, no? What's the rush?! Maybe pivot?

You can still learn something else in University such as how to write code or learn accounting or even AI and Machine Learning - that's the future.  

Don't be gassed, my friend! There are many more people in this world who are doing much better in life because they have a degree (or piece of paper) and those who don't have that piece of paper are paying for it IN FULL. Call it a piece of paper but the world still holds some value to it, which may not be "fair". 

Yes, life isn't fair so is entrepreneurship and guess what so is real estate investing too! 

Oh, also universities are definitely not a scam, without universities, we may still be suffering from The Pague or Rickets. 

My partner is an architect and has saved us more than the cost of his degree by far. Trained architects can & do make great money in RE development. Many have an eye for design that most RE developers, that live in a spreadsheet, just don’t have.

Dropping out of school is statistically one of the stupidest things you can do. I was also in a rush to make money and had side hustle/a job since I was 14. 

Trust me when I tell you, the working world will be there for you in a few years. There is more than enough time. Sure have a side hustle, but enjoy your college years. Enjoy partying and making bonds that could help you for a lifetime. My most important partners and business associates are from my undergrad and masters. It’s very different to develop those relationships later. 

@Jaden Adams

I vehemently disagree with these others who are telling you to drop out. Change your major if you don’t like architecture, but trust me when I tell you that having a bachelors minimum gives you options you absolutely do not have without it. I shunned a degree in favor of professional licenses (worked on airplanes), and eventually realized that not having a degree was putting a ceiling on my chances of getting into management.

DO NOT drop out. Maybe skip out on architecture if your heart isn’t in it, but doing a business degree is going to help you in a thousand ways you can’t imagine right now. If you drop out now, mark my words — you’ll end up like me, going back for it online at 35 while you juggle a full time job and a kid. It’s a HUGE pain in the ***.

A business education will teach how to run your shiny new successful REI business, but it'll give you universal skills that you can use elsewhere if your local market ever ***** the bed and you need to get out of it. Options. Options. Options.

@Jaden Adams I dropped out when I was 19 after my 3rd yr. I was a history major and hated it. Even back then private college was expensive @ $390 per credit. I decided to try and strike out as a stock broker right around the time when online trading was in its infancy. That said, I failed miserably. I wish I had a college degree in my early 20’s.

Knowing what I know now...indeed you do not have to go to college to make good money. However, you could/should at least go to school online while doing REI. Or do your REI while attending community college. The bottom line is: it's better to have a degree and not need it rather than need it and not have it. Good luck!!!

Originally posted by @Russell Holmes :

@Bill F. The problem I see with studies like you shared is that they assume the benefits to somebody graduating college today are the same as they were 10, 20, 30, and 40 years ago. That is just not true. If anything the data points do more to show how different the opportunity has become. The job market and economy simply don't work that way. A degree in 1970 meant something that doesn't carry the same weight today. In the early 2000s when I was in high school, the litigation world was accelerating and there was a shortage of lawyers. Those graduating with a law degrees in 1999-2000 and passing the Barr exam we're almost guaranteed a $90k/year starting salary. I heard it all over the place and many of my peers went to law school. The problem is that the story was over hyped and too many people did it. I know several lawyer peers who had to work retail jobs or unpaid internships while they searched for firms hiring for years. Many of these firms raised their criteria due to an excess of applicants making it a requirement to have passed the California Barr to work in FL or NY. They thought they had it made and did not, needing to aim even higher. What worked for my grandparents did not work for my parents. What worked for my parents didn't work for my generation. So giving advice based on comparing college degrees of 60 year olds today has no relevance to whether a 19 year old will see the same benefits 40 years from today. College once set graduates apart from "the rest". Then it had to be a master's because everyone gets bachelor's degrees, now everyone goes for masters so I know people in their 30s going for PhDs to further distinguish themselves. It's an uphill battle when you follow the masses. These long term studies must be taken with a grain of salt due to the changing economic climate over the decades since the longest case studies graduated...


That's a cool story about your lawyer friends and good generic advice about what works then may not work now, but it has no bearing on the study I posted.

From the introduction to the Study: "This report focuses on net present value from college, which was calculated by assuming that earnings 10 years after first attending are a reasonable proxy for future earnings. We also assumed that the total investment is reflected in the total cost of college, which the College Scorecard provides as the average annual net price." (pg 2)

The study uses data from the College Scorecard created by the Dept of Education. To arrive at the earnings figures they used the reported income figures from College Scorecard from the respective institution at 6,8,10 yrs after entering the institution. After year ten they assumed no wage growth. (pg 22)

Thus the earnings reported aren't from 60 year olds, but 25-30 year olds the youngest age cohort that has complete data ... I'm sure you simply missed that part when you read the study...

Also the main purpose of the study wasn't to answer the question, "should I go to college?". The answer to that question is assumed to be yes. The study is an intra-college comparison to show which certificate or degree granting institutions give their graduates the highest ROI.

"College is expensive, and as with all expensive investments, the potential return is a key consideration when choosing where to enroll and what to study. Potential students should consider how much it will cost to obtain a credential, and how much they could potentially earn with it. They should also consider the time required to get the degree, the net price, the convenience and location of the program, the likelihood that they will graduate, and the amount of time needed to get traction in a career and to reach prime earning age." (Pg 1)


 

@Jaden Adams you got a ton of great advice here but I too wanted to drop my short 2 cents. Me personally would love to have a degree in architecture. I would love to design home buildings and work with developers to rebuild some of the small cities in my area. I would say don't drop out having that degree will open many doors in the REI scene and will give you a one up on many investors. My landlord is a architect and took a building built in the 1800 and turned them into beautiful loft apartments. He's planning on buying the building next to it and break through the wall to expand the current 8 unit building into 12 and his design includes a gym, garden, and a roof top terrace.

@Jaden Adams

First of all we I think we need to distinguish the difference between college and education. College facilities learning but does necessarily mean you will get educated. You should be learning throughout life, not just when you’re in school. You can get a degree with no usefull information. If you are going to get a job that you need a degree for i would recommend staying in school. It will give you the right resources for that skillset.

However, if you want to be a real estate agent for sure than you don’t need to be in thousands of dollars in debt for a useless degree. You don’t need a degree to be successful. But that doesn’t mean that giving up us ok. You should never give and always follow what you are naturally drawn to.

@Jaden Adams come join me at The University of Baltimore. Majoring in Real Estate and Economic Development. You’ll learn from adjunct Professors that are Vice Presidents and CEO’s of real estate business local to BALTIMORE City. There’s a real estate fellowship pitch competition here each year where the winner receives $1,000,000 line of credit towards their real estate development project. I won last year. Check it out! Contact me for me info

Remember college is an investment too. If you like real estate, get a degree in business or finance. Plan a path of courses that’ll support your financial and career goals. If you have passion for it, even better for you. That degree could separate you from the pack at some point in your life.

I worked my way through college and got an engineering degree. (With only $16k of loans.) I work full time as a Professional Engineer and I invest my bonus and passive income every year in real estate. I enjoy doing both engineering and investing. I enjoy rehabbing the houses as my hobby. My wife and I do them together.

If I were 20 again, I might get a finance degree and go to law school. I’d invest in real estate and do real estate law. OR I would do accounting and be a CPA while investing in real estate. Both would allow you to pay back the student loans in no time flat. (Trust me, I have paid both lawyers and CPA’s quite a bit of money over the years. lol)

Bottom line, develop a plan and execute it. BUT have a plan. Create goals and measure performance against them. Keep hustling and you’ll do great!

@Bill Goodland

Obviously you’ve never studied at a respectable business school. As a student in one of the top ranked accounting schools in the nation, I learn more in a matter of months than most do in years. My degree is totally worth every cent I’m paying for it. I agree that the internet can provide tons of awesome free resources, but there is a reason that employers pay more for a degree. You’d be plain ignorant to think otherwise.

As a general comment, I agree with those who say you can do both. No one said you can either take out student loans or not go to school. I know that the real estate world doesn’t generally take advice from Dave Ramsey, but I totally agree with his stance on student loans. It’s much smarter to get grants and work a ton to avoid debt. Get the degree, but don’t over pay and don’t go in to debt. It’s that simple. If you think that’s impossible or you’re not willing to try, then you obviously don’t have the tenacity to be successful in real estate either...

@Jaden Adams

You state 'everyone's' going to college nowadays.  Not true.  The majority still do not in the US.  Only about 30 % have their bachelors.

Also, you're 19.  You won't get this experience for quite a while going down the RE agent track, but if you are hiring folks, you'll quickly find out why college grads are more in demand, and tend to make better money.  It's hard to put into words but I do hope later on in your life you'll gain that perspective and thank yourself for investing in your education.  

By the way, the 120k in debt is very little compared to the difference in average earnings of a college grad vs. not.

@Jaden Adams I got started by purchasing multifamily properties with my W2 income from JP Morgan. I got up to 3 properties (10 units) before I got laid off. I think that is a great way to start. If you are extremely driven dropping out could be a good option but it will be significantly hard for you without any actual real estate experience. Having said that, if you are able to find deals then you will always have clients.

@Jaden Adams

Improving yourself never ends. Most investors Have more than one iron in the fire at some phase of their life. Start real estate and take a night class, pay as you go, work a second job at one point in my life I had two part times with my full time. Going 4 years of school hard core may not be your thing. So back up re group. Nothing wrong with that we do it every day.

Originally posted by @Parker Jackson :

@Bill Goodland

Obviously you’ve never studied at a respectable business school. As a student in one of the top ranked accounting schools in the nation, I learn more in a matter of months than most do in years. My degree is totally worth every cent I’m paying for it. I agree that the internet can provide tons of awesome free resources, but there is a reason that employers pay more for a degree. You’d be plain ignorant to think otherwise.

As a general comment, I agree with those who say you can do both. No one said you can either take out student loans or not go to school. I know that the real estate world doesn’t generally take advice from Dave Ramsey, but I totally agree with his stance on student loans. It’s much smarter to get grants and work a ton to avoid debt. Get the degree, but don’t over pay and don’t go in to debt. It’s that simple. If you think that’s impossible or you’re not willing to try, then you obviously don’t have the tenacity to be successful in real estate either...

Sorry if I hurt your feelings man. If your goal is to have a good job, obviously I'm not trying to discount the value of a degree from an employers perspective. But if his goal is to clearly work for himself in real estate, I think he'll be hard pressed to find a business degree that will provide enough value considering not only the debt, but opportunity cost of starting much later in life than if he tried to get into the business in one way or another. Obviously there are ways to avoid debt, but grants aren't a guarantee and often the best business schools are the ones with the highest price tags making the ROI tricky. There are definitely exceptions to everything I just said and I'm glad you found a lot of value in your business degree, but I've just never come across anyone impressed by a piece of piece of paper prior to a real estate transaction.

@Jaden Adams Challenge yourself to get the best of both worlds. Find a way to do college cheaper. There are scholarships available, look for essay contests, community service based orgs, and awards given by your school. That's why it is so important to get involved on campus. Even if you think a certain activity or group is pointless sometimes you will uncover $$ opportunities. I recommend either getting a part time job for more money or taking the real estate course while you're in college. Try something out to give you a better idea of your career path for the next 2-3 years. There are also community college programs that are just as good as a university. Except much cheaper. I would not recommend college unless you can do it for under 20K in loans. If you're making good money with the part time job you can reduce the amount of loans you take.

@Jaden Adams

I know there are already at posts on this thread so I might not be adding anything - but here are a few thoughts.

I have had a really interesting career and have worked for 3 startups, started 3 of my own companies, worked for US Govt (NASA) and for several major corporations. I’ve hired probably 100 people - with degrees and without. Here’s the honest truth I know about finishing college - it tells me that the person sticks with big and challenging goals. It tells me they are a problem solving and time manager. It tells me they work well with others to achieve super difficult goals. And it tells me most importantly that they possess the unique brain that is a well educated brain. There is no replacement. I used to think I was crazy ... but over and over it’s been shown to me that those who take on higher learning - a challenging degree - have a level of refinement in their thought processes that is extremely valuable. The exposure to ideas and intense use of thinking power seems to rewire the mind. The way they think is much more evolved. You can get this ability for higher thinking growth in other ways - life experiences will get you there. But It takes 3-4 times longer. I would finish your degree - it will pay dividends you can’t imagine.

@Jaden Adams

Personally I am in the same boat as you. I am a college kid who is dropping out of college after this semester. Why would I continue stressing with class when I acan have positive stress with what I am passionate about. I wouldnt know my true passion for real estate if I didnt go this semester. I am happy I did.

@Jaden Adams college is a negative ROI. People are going to college blindly. They are not really thinking of it as a business plan to get ahead, just merely going to go.

I personally decide after a year in a community college that the decision to take on all that debt to have a 70k job was not for me. I worked my way up in sales and now earn over 6 figures with no college degree and best of all not 1 dollar in student debt.

Know with my salary and very low personal debt I use all my disposable income to invest in real estate.

Long story short, you will have people and family tell you that if you decide not to continue you’ll be a failure. Only you know what’s best for you and your ability to be successful or not. I say go for it and pursue something else. The great thing about it is you can always go back if the next road comes to an end. I am know expert but if you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Good Luck!

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