Is college necessary?

30 Replies

Hello all! I am currently taking a year away from school to explore my options in real estate and whether or not those options would require a college degree. I do enjoy school, but after two years of accumulating debt, I am struggling to see how it will help me with a career in real estate investing. I am not opposed to taking a different route then my peers are, but I can't get over the idea that college is a must for success. Over the past 6 months, I have been listening to podcasts, reading, and spending time on the BP website, and I can truly say I feel like I have learned more useful information than I have in my previous two years of school. I am starting to believe that the time money and time spent earning a degree might be better spent learning through doing. I am looking forward to hearing some opinions. Thanks!

I hear the debt-thing.  Within ten years, online education programs for college degrees will be available and at a fraction of the price.  For sure, always continue your professional education.  Even listening to podcasts from professionals helps further your career.

As someone who spent six-figures (of debt) on a college degree, I can say little of my degree has translated to real estate. My $0.02 is that the most important things are networking (which I am horrible at), and education (which is not required from college). No one has asked to see my transcript or degree when buying real estate. If you could replace that loan for school with one for a duplex, then you could learn RE first hand while providing yourself a place to live. 

Flip argument: Are you studying for a 6-figure salary. A degree that makes you a high-income earner makes traditional financing easier. You may be making barely enough to eat as an entry level handyman or property manager if you "just leave school" and try to get into the field without connections or experience. That degree could allow you to spend 40-hours a week getting paid well and another 10-20 hours a week on RE until the RE is self-sufficient. However, if you are studying American History or French Literature, your degree may not pay off with the same benefits. :-)

If you are planning to major in a STEM, finance, business, pre-med, pre-law...go

Otherwise skip it IMO. It's a modern day ponzi scheme. 

@Macintyre Braun my recommendation is complete a business degree. Assuming you have two years worth of credits, you are half way there. There are great options here in Sioux Falls to take classes online or through the University Center. Usually when people get in major trouble with college debit, it is because they lived on campus, went to private schools, signed up for useless classes or didn't show up for the classes they signed up for.  

Today a college degree is like a high school diploma was 40 years ago. It is not necessary for real estate, but as real estate evolves, it may be in the future. As more national companies dominate, the individual agent model could be disrupted. Big corporations want to see degrees.

At the end of the day, a business degree is useful in countless careers and is extremely useful for running a business. BP doesn't teach accounting, marketing, management, etc. I see all the time investors on here that don't even know how to calculate interest on a loan without using a loan calculator. My vote is stay in school. You are so close! Good luck.

“Is college necessary?”

No. No it is not. As you said yourself you got more real education from a few podcasts than in 2 years of school. College is a scam 9 times out of 10.  People who think otherwise are living in a previous decade or generation.  (Notice 9 times out of 10 means that 10% of the time it is helpful, however if you don’t have a very specific reason for it spend that money elsewhere.)

@David Lee Hall, III . I agree that college may provide a safe route while investing on the side. I have been struggling to come up with entry level opportunities in the field that pay a reasonable salary. If I go back to school it will most definitely be a a business degree of some sort. I appreciate the advice!

Is it necessary?  I don't know -- necessary for what?  

Is it necessary to accumulate debt in order to get a degree? No.  In fact, this option should be removed from the table.

What are you studying?

Right now the highest ROI you have is investing in yourself. That beats any real estate purchase right now.

As someone with an undergraduate and masters degree, a small portion of my education actually translated into my career in real estate. Although, I will say that the finance, accounting, business skills course I took allowed me to sound confidently and precise on issues with my commercial and investor clients, the actual education wasn't all that helpful in starting out in investing.

The most important part of my education was the connections I made and the spheres of influences I was able to tap into. When they tell you in college that networking is where its at, believe them. Being in business school, I was able to put some really well known people in my contacts to do business with later.

James Storey, CCIM

Is it necessary? Nop. 
Does having a 6 figure income help as an RE investor? A LOT (Banks lend you cheap money very easily)

but... do you need a college degree to make 6 digits? Nop, I used to work alongside oilfield hands and welders (w/ 0 college edu) making anywhere from $100k to $250k per year. Plumbers, licensed contractors, RE agents, salesmen can all achieve this kind of income too. It's not easy work, but it can be done.

I personally think that college is overrated. When I was in college 10 years ago, a lot of the people there were only there because that was what was expected of them.  A decent number of them became cashiers and data entry people which you don't exactly need a degree for.  Now it did help when I first started investing in real estate to tell the banker that I had degrees in accounting and finance, but beyond that, there really isn't much value.  I was working for a retail company where salespeople with no high school diploma were making well into the 6 figure commissions.

I have 4 children of my own right now and I am not going to pressure them to college.  Knowledge isn't controlled by the universities as it once was.  Instead, I am going to teach them to have a positive, helpful, and proactive attitude.  That will get you much farther in real estate (and most other areas) than a piece of paper to put on the wall.

I recommend a career in sales.  It isn't something I was ready for in my 20's, but looking back, salespeople (the great ones) have to develop the talents that a great real estate investor need to be successful.  

@Macintyre Braun

When I feel like the discussion gets too one sided...

Yes, get a degree! Only if the degree pays (anything with engineer, stem, teaching, ect.).

I am a little shocked by the no education people. I chose not to get an education and go full time into investing. It is very very challenging. I will sum it up like this.


The Tale of Two Brothers; a cautionary tale

One brother dropped out of college 4-5 times. He was constantly chasing the buck, taking crappy jobs, and buying real estate. After working every second of his life (100 hours per week) and using all of his vacation and sick time to buy property. He finally was able to quit his job. Lives a great life but would not do it this way again...

The smart brother busted his *** in college. Graduated with honors from a private college, no debt. Went on to get a Juris Doctorate, Magna Cum Lade (or something like that). Started pulling in tons of money. He did this while not working that hard after college and having a nice home life balance. He casually buys property and has a nice little portfolio. He enjoys his 5 kids (not a typo).


This is my point. I see my brothers life as so much more pleasant. I was completely absent because my value per hour used to not be that high. I simply had to put in more hours to make up the difference. I told myself that when I dropped out each time.

Lots of people in here are only looking at college on a money in - money out axis. Things I got in college that I couldn't get other places: 

Lifelong friends. College is the best time to make friends as an adult. You are mixed with people all over the country, many of whom have similar interests as you. Making friends in the real world is much more difficult, especially nowadays with the pandemic. 

Networking: I have gotten jobs simply because I knew people from school. It it nepotism? Absolutely. Did it work? Also yes. 

Personal growth: I became a better person because I went to college. I learned new things, experienced new ideas, all because I was in a place that encouraged that for four years. 

I did go to a private school, but it was made affordable through scholarships. Private schools have tons of them that can bring them down to the price of a state school or cheaper. I wouldn't spend $30,000+ on college like some people, but it can be affordable if you shop around. I looked at 20+ schools before settling on the one I went to.  So while college isn't necessary, I wouldn't change my experience for anything.

Originally posted by @Ethan Perry :

@Jim K. Wow. What an insightful comment. You should write a book or something. The breadth of your wisdom must be too wide for mere forum posts.

 You should have seen my previous 25 posts on identical threads cogently answering this same question asked in the same way. But of course you didn't. Because the likes of you never search before unlocking your word-hoard, either.

@Jim K. Seeing as that is the case why wouldn’t you kindly refer a new investor to past posts or say nothing at all seeing how much the asking of simple, common questions offends you. I’m not sure what you aim to accomplish by being condescending and rude, especially to new investors asking for advice.

Subject has been discussed on here a MILLION times....

College doesn't guarantee you success.... its just another pathway that MAY help you succeed. 

Consider it an investment and analyze it in a similar way. If you can do it and not go neck deep in debt and it has a reasonable chance of increasing your earning potential then its well worth the investment.

The KEY is to not go neck deep in unrelenting debt that you will NEVER get out of.... that has been the tipping point with college now. Unless you are going into a very special field that has a large starting salary and huge financial growth, NO ONE should be going into 70-100k+ debt for school.... NO ONE.

I graduated in 1991 and went to vet school and graduated with a DVM in 1995 with 36k in student loans, that I paid off in 4 years. Now vet students are coming out 250k in debt and our industry salary didn't increase anywhere near that %.... in todays market, NOW WAY would I go 250k in debt to get where I am now......

I've seen plenty of kids go to college and then do NOTHING even close to useful or successful.......Ive also see some that do the "college isnt worth it" route and go from job to job to job always chasing the next shiny object and do NOTHING and get nowhere

Your education doesn't  make you successful..... YOU make you successful or not......if you don't go and you work your *** off, you will be successful.......if  you go to college and still have no drive or focus, you wont be

Originally posted by @Ethan Perry :

@Jim K. Seeing as that is the case why wouldn’t you kindly refer a new investor to past posts or say nothing at all seeing how much the asking of simple, common questions offends you. I’m not sure what you aim to accomplish by being condescending and rude, especially to new investors asking for advice.

Sorry, Ethan. I guess I should be a better answer monkey for the entitled.


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