I don’t have a lot of real-life friends but it seems like the ones I do encounter are in a few small groups.

  • A large number getting only associate degrees
  • A greater number getting a Masters Degree
  • More than a handful of people going for their Doctorate

I don’t pretent to know much about college-life. It was only last month that a friend had to explain to me what Tuition was and how credits work. I don’t waste time learning about things that have very little impact on my life but one thing is certain is that way more people I know are getting advanced degrees beyond the normal 4-year than I heard about as a younger kid. Growing up, I still traveled a lot and met a lot of technical and successful persons and maybe 5% had a Masters or Doctorate degree. It seems now the people I talk to at 20-25 are going after the higher degree at much higher numbers.

What does this translate to? Well, to me it means more debt and less time before you enter the workforce. 

I had a teacher in 10th grade who actually passed away 2 years ago. He was a horrible history teacher but his lessons on life and economics were extremely valuable. He didn’t follow the teaching plan and I thank him for that. He spent an afternoon back in 2002 explaining to us the tradesperson would outperform the medical doctor and it would take the doctor to age 40 to earn more than the tradesman that ended up owning his own plumbing company at age 35. The specifics here are fuzzy but the plumber had zero college debt and started earning at age 18. The doctor started earning at age 26 (or somewhere around this) and after loans were paid off and the MD started earning big bucks, it took 15 more years or so to catch up with the plumber.

I doubt this still applies today as much. The medical industry and salaries are much higher but college is more expensive and competition is fierce if my real-world observations are true and more people are getting Doctorates than ever before.

What I think though is that if you have a high-IQ and drive and a good support system of family (living at home longer, etc), you can do pretty well in life without going to college especially if a 4 year degree doesn’t mean as much as it used to given how many people are going to college for 6-8 years.

Obviously, college still has value but I do wonder how people are dealing with so much debt and twice as much time in school than they used to. It sounds horrible. I met a 24 year old today that still has 3 more years of school. That’s insane. There has to be an easier way to get an education without spending 1/3 of your life in a classroom.