Reading, Writing and ROI - Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Educational Investment?
I have never understood someone signing up for college and selecting a major later. Would you get in your car and drive around aimlessly for hours until you decide where you want to go? No. So why would you waste your time, money, and energy on what you want to do for a living?
Kids, I'll let you in on a little secret. When Mom and Dad push you towards college, it's because they want you out of their house and to become responsible. But how responsible is it to put yourself into debt for something you may never use?
44 million Americans have student loans. Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. The average monthly student loan payment is $351 per month, a $4,212 annual “investment.”
There are three letters frequently heard in business, ROI. These statistics would be different if Americans made their educational decisions based on getting a return on their investment.
Almost one-third of Americans who take out a student loan drop out before receiving their degree. Only 27% of college graduates are in a job even closely related to what they went to college for, and only 62% of college graduates are working a job that requires a degree.
So why the big push to go to school? Tradition. This is your future and will likely be the biggest investment you will ever make. Now, I am not saying you don't have to go to college, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a year to do some research and interning before deciding if college is what you need.
I recently interviewed a local author, Darryl Peterson, who has gone from a tough upbringing to having a bestselling book. During the interview he said he lives by the theory that knowledge is the new currency, and I totally agree. It is very important to understand that there is a big difference between knowledge and education. Education is a formal process, whereas knowledge is informal experience. I have always felt that interning is priceless. Not only will it give you experience, it's a test drive for your future.
With that in mind, look at things from a potential employer's point of view. If someone hasn't done what is necessary to invest in their future, what are the chances they will do the same for your company? Also, would you rather hire someone who learned about the job from a book or someone who has actually done the work?
I advise my clients when hiring to not look for the smartest, but to look for the hungriest. Someone who doesn't quit when times get tough keeps grinding and looking for solutions, not excuses. There isn't a college course that is going to teach that; otherwise, we wouldn't have educated people sitting at home unemployed.
Also, look for the prospect with the best character. If you could teach character in college, we wouldn't see Ivy league graduates on the news for committing crimes.
The bottom line is, don't go to school just to go to school. Remember, entrepreneurs are so happy because sink or swim we are all doing something we love. Our first decision was to invest in ourselves and if you want the best return on your investment, it should be yours, too.