There's no doubt that there are many successful people in the world who did not go to College. If your measure of success if getting a career that you love, then College may not be for everybody. Sometimes dropping out or not going at all may well be the best decision that a young person can make when they leave school. There's enormous pressure from teachers, career advisers, classmates, and parents to "pick a course" in a College as a natural progression from school.
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Tessa Cooper chose not to go to College and it was "it was the best career decision" she ever made. Writing in the Guardian Online she tells us about looking for a job straight from school (it was not easy without a degree), and being determined not to let the lack of a degree hold her back. At the age of 24 she is now a Product Manager having worked for The Guardian, Comic Relief, and FutureLearn. Judging by her success I've no doubt that she would have succeeded at College too. I feel that she set out to succeed and overcome barriers (such as no degree) that got in her way. This separates her from many others who do not have the same determination. If you would like to find out more about Tessa, see her website called The Start-out where she has a "collection of stories, advice and ideas to help young people find and develop a career they love".
There's no law that says you must go to College straight after school. Most of my own students are mature learners over the age of 25 - many have never been to College before. Colleges like the National College of Ireland (as our mission statement says) change lives though education, by providing courses for older students. Whether it is an undergraduate or postgraduate degree of study - learning part-time while working suits many people. Some students keep on working during the day, and study by night. It's never too late to go to College, my oldest ever student was in his 70s!
Studying for a degree is a very fulfilling and rewarding achievement. It is not for everybody. Some employers, such Ernst & Young, have now removed the requirement that you must have a degree in order to apply for a job. It will be an interesting research study in years to come to see if this will make a difference.
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