In India, a college degree is a must if you want a respectable standing in the society. You need to be a graduate, if not a post graduate, to have a substantial income or to fare well in the ‘arranged marriage market’. Getting a college degree has now become a rite of passage that everyone has to go through. So much so, that we don’t even think about or question its relevance. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself if the college degree you’re pursuing is even worth the tremendous amount of money you’re spending or will be spending on it? If you haven’t, you should.
Applying for college is an investment, and just like any other investment, you should be aware of the risks and returns associated with it before you invest. You should invest only when you’re absolutely sure that the investment is right for you. You should consider the following things before you apply to any college after your 12th standard examinations.
Do You Know What You Want?
In India, the herd mentality is very common. We do certain things just because everyone around us is doing it. Even when we’re making important life decisions, like choosing our careers, we’re more concerned about what others are doing rather than focusing on what we want. This is how people end up with dead-end Nine-to-Five jobs. Either people don’t have a clue about what they want for themselves, or they know, but are too afraid to pursue it because they think that it’s unconventional and that the society might not approve of it. You must have seen many people working jobs that have nothing to do with what they majored in, like people with a degree in engineering working as bank clerks, etc.
While some people can cope with the pressure of having to do something they know isn’t right for them, some people just can’t deal with it. Clinical depression has been observed in students as young as 15 years old. This, if left unchecked, develops into suicidal tendencies. India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to a 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions for this demographic.
What You Need To Learn Versus What You’re Taught In College
While there are fields which require you to have the necessary theoretical knowledge (like law & medicine, etc.), most professions require practical knowledge and skills. If you’re in college and all you need to do is read the prescribed book, memorize, and answer the questions in an exam, then is there any difference between your school and your college?
There are very few colleges in India, if any, which ensure that the students get the practical knowledge and acquire the skills that will prepare them for jobs in the outside world. It is not uncommon for a student who graduated from a reputed college with excellent marks, to fail a job interview because he doesn’t have enough experience or the necessary skills. We are the most educated and yet, the most unemployed generation.
If you want to start a business for instance, step out into that particular market, enquire & investigate, meet the people who have been doing it for a long time, learn how to communicate effectively, create a network and ask questions. Sitting in a classroom with a hundred other students and reading about all these things in some book and scoring 90+ marks in an exam isn’t actually going to help you in the long run.
The Law Of Supply & Demand
I’m sure all those who have ever studied economics know about this law. One of the biggest reasons why college graduates, and even post graduates for that matter, can’t find relevant work is because the supply of the same people with the same qualifications is too high and the job vacancies (demand) is relatively low. We now have the biggest workforce market, where employers have their pick of the litter, and because of this, employees will get paid less and less with each passing day.
Yet, students are still being told that they need a college degree to succeed in life – and students believe that. Consequently, the demand for college increases. The Law of Supply and Demand says that an increase in demand with a steady supply leads to rise in the price of the commodity. This is the simple reason why college tuition fees have skyrocketed over the past couple of years.
Will Your College Degree Stand The Test Of Time?
Technological advancement is taking place at a rate that our education system can’t keep up with. Most professional graduation courses have a duration of 3-4 years. By the time you graduate, all that you have been taught over the course of these 3 or 4 years will have become obsolete. Jobs of yesterday are automated today and jobs of today will be automated tomorrow. Are you sure you want to spend a huge chunk of money to have limited longevity and a skill set that will make you dispensable in just a few years?
All The Examples Out There
We all know that billionaires like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates & Mark Zuckerberg are all college dropouts. But here are a few successful Indian hotshots who made it big after dropping out of college or not going to college at all.
Aamir Khan studied only up to the 12th standard.
Kapil Dev dropped out of college
Azim Premji, chairman of the IT giant Wipro dropped out of college and started running the company at the age of 21. He’s now worth $17.3 Billion.
Aishwarya Rai dropped out of her architectural course to participate in the Miss World pageant. She won the title in 1994.
Sachin Tendulkar studied only up to the 10th standard
Gautam Adani dropped his commerce degree to start his own diamond brokerage company. He’s now worth $8.8 Billion.
Akshay Kumar dropped out of college
Mary Kom dropped out of school to pursue career in Boxing. She recently went back and completed her education.
Mukesh Ambani dropped out of his MBA program to become the Managing Director of Reliance Industries. He’s now worth $42.3 Billion
You have access to the Internet, you have YouTube at the tip of your fingers, you can learn pretty much anything & everything you want to learn from these sources. There are certain professions for which a college degree in indispensable, so it can’t be said that college is a waste of time & money for everyone. The society is not going to give up its obsession with a college degree, or people who have a college degree, it is you who has to make that choice for yourself.