SNM121: Is College a Good Investment?

When I was seventeen, it was time to start applying to colleges.  Twelve acceptances and two wait listings later, I made my final decision.  But was it the right call? Could I have made a better decision?

Asking the Right Question

We live in an age where most parents expect their children to go to college.

We assume that the fastest path to success in life and business comes from four years at a prestigious university.

So as our children are ready to graduate high school, we start asking them where they want to go to school.

But that is no longer the best question.

If there is one thing that I've learned from watching my fellow Millennials graduate, it's that there are plenty of trash degrees from every single college.

I know people who spend a quarter of a million bucks on their education and are now flipping quarter pounders or pouring coffee for a living.

We need to break through our assumptions and ask the RIGHT question.

Should my child go to college or not?

This question should come before discussions about where your child will apply.

The University Racket

Universities are a business, and they seek to make a profit.

Yet they act like pharmaceutical companies and pretend that they only care about your best interests.

That's a complete lie.

The problem in our society is that the government is in collusion with education.

The government has all these programs set up to help you save and pay for your child's education.

Did you know that a student loan is the ONE kind of debt that sticks with someone who declares bankruptcy?

That's a sign that something isn't right with this game.

Universities play a shell game with their information.

They want you to focus on ANYTHING other than what matters.

Will My Child Have a Better Life If They Go to This College?

This is the core question, and no university wants you asking it.

They don't want you to realize that the emperor's new clothes are actually rags.

They have several popular ways of masking reality.

Universities love to brag about their levels of diversity.

It's very trendy right now.

But is diversity going to help your child?

The ultimate experiment in diversity was the Tower of Babel.

An absolutely diverse university would have one hundred students of one hundred ethnicities speaking one hundred different languages.

They would have maximum diversity, but be completely unable to communicate with each other.

Before you launch an ad hominem attack, please remember that my family would score a near perfect on a diversity test.

But remember, university is about spending money to provide your child with a better life.

If a university wants to talk about ANY other topic, then they are trying to distract you.

The other place that schools are allowed to lie, courtesy of US law, is post-graduation job placements.

If your child graduates from a university and then comes to work for you part time as an assistant, that university will take credit.

They will tell the next generation that they are the reason your child got hired.

What they will NEVER do is publish a statistic for how many graduates have GOOD jobs.

Because if this number were ever released, we would start burning chancellors in effigy.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Schools brag when their students graduate with 100K+ in debt and make 8 bucks an hour as baristas.” user=”ServeNoJonathan” hashtags=”servenomaster”]

I Loved The School So Much that I Started Working Here

This is what every tour guide at my university used to say. (Side note I applied to be a tour guide and they said no!)

Everyone in the admissions department was also former students.

When you are caught up in the tour, you start to think that the university must be such a magical place that people never want to leave.

We think of Never Never Land.

But this is the ultimate red flag.

People graduate from here, can't find a job, and end up trapped.

The next time you are visiting a campus and starts feeding you this garbage, please do me a favor and ask them this question:

“How many job offers did you turn down when you decided to stay on here?”

Be prepared.

There are only two responses to this question, tears of depression or pure rage.

They will either instantly break down crying, or they will come at you like a hurricane.

Nobody likes to have some stranger shine a spotlight on their failures.

The truth is that hanging around a school after you graduated starts to get a little creepy.

Would you like it if some forty-year-old was giving tours of the local kindergarten?

It would seem like they never grew up and this is the same thing.

Stick to your core question –

  • Will this school make my child more money than it costs?  
  • Will it give my child a better life?

Show Notes:

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Key Points:

  1. Treat college as a business decision
  2. Look through the smoke and mirrors
  3. Ask the right questions

Resources Mentioned:

Breaking Orbit

Serve No Master on Amazon

Most other links can be found in my TOOLBOX


Send in your questions to podcast [at] servenomaster [dot] com

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1 thought on “SNM121: Is College a Good Investment?”

  1. This episode really got me thinking whether I want my future kids to ever go to college. My parents would be aghast if I said I don’t plan to send my kids to college. It would make me look like a bad parent. They will tell me my kids won’t have a great future if they don’t go to college. Here in the Philippines, it is the parents’ pride to be able to send their kids to university – especially the most prestigious (and most expensive) universities. A diploma hanging by the wall is their trophy.

    But you are right. How many university graduates actually have jobs that pay off? Most of them are even unable to start their own lives because they are trapped paying for the debts their parents incurred just to send them to school. And many end up working in jobs beneath what they studied for – either here or abroad.

    It will take a radical shift in mindset but I hope, when the time comes that I do have kids who will go to college, that radical mindset has become (even if just a teeny bit) the norm.

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