Do You Really Need a Bachelor’s Degree?

My younger sister was confused.

She knew I didn’t want to be a school teacher. But I told her I would consider being a teacher (for now).

But I didn’t mean lecturing in front of students using a lesson plan — I was talking about teaching people my own way.

This blog is an example. Humans Unite is an example.

Think about it for a second. I’m already teaching you something by just writing my thoughts here.

And I can even take it further by starting a YouTube channel and share life lessons. Or maybe, set up an online course. Or even better, one-on-one coaching.

Do I really want to become a school teacher? No. But I wanted to provide value through my words.

Glad, there are now alternatives. And I couldn’t be happier.

I once heard someone said, “I wish I have a degree in criminology so I can serve and protect people.”

But you can serve and protect people even if you don’t have a criminology degree. You just need to do it differently — of course, the scope of your service would be different or even lesser, obviously. But at least you’re still doing it.

And that’s what matters.

If you find that unappealing, maybe what you really want is the nature of the job — being a police officer. Great. If you really want to become a police officer, go do it.

But just because you didn’t make it, or your parents can’t afford it, doesn’t mean you’re done.

Here’s another example:

“A psychology degree means I’ll be great at understanding people’s behavior.”

Again, you don’t need a psychology degree to study psychology and eventually learn about people’s behaviors. There are now hundreds of websites, books, podcasts, and online courses you can learn from.

Same with philosophy, management, business, music, marketing, writing, programming, and designing (what else?). You don’t really need a bachelor’s degree to learn them and eventually become good, and uhm, make money.

You can now educate yourself using the Internet. You can now easily find mentors. And most importantly, you can now learn from people who have done it or doing it by reading their blogs or listening to their podcasts.

“But what about applying for a job? Companies will ask for a diploma or some credentials.”

If you can prove to them that you’re really good at what you do and you’ve spent years practicing it, and you have the skillset that can help them, you don’t need a diploma. Show them a portfolio instead.

Even better, if your skills or the things you’ve created are really useful, you probably don’t need to apply to companies — people will go to you and pay you for your service (but this is for another post).

Also, most good companies — yes there are bad, oops — won’t ask for a diploma. What they want are your skills and expertise and character. That’s it.

Imagine this:

Instead of spending 4 or 5 years studying in the University, answering test papers or following instructions from your professors about what to research and study and on and on… you can actually use that time for doing what you’re really meant to do.

It’s way faster to learn from doing or experimenting, and failing, and asking for feedback, and trying again and again.

Learning isn’t all about perfecting an examination or presenting a report in front of a class.

You’re not in the 1970s anymore. Don’t just rely on what the traditional school system laid upon you. You now have more opportunities for learning, even if you don’t go to college.

Getting a bachelor’s degree may be the trend in the past, but it has become outdated.

At this moment (Sept 2020), it isn’t the only way to learn, become great, and hopefully succeed in life.

The world is changing. And it will keep changing (and evolving). Who knows what the future holds?

It’s better to maximize what technology offers and figure out what works for you. It can be a grueling process, but nothing great comes easy.


Of course, there are exceptions.

Some of these are healthcare, law, aviation, civil engineering… what else? There are certain vocations that need a professional license to perform legally. So if you have all the resources to pursue that degree, go pursue it.

I am not offering an alternative for everyone. And I’m not forcing you to follow my worldview. I may be different.

But this is just a starting point for those who are unsure whether or not they should go to college.

Still confused?

Let’s start with these questions:

  • What kind of person do you really want to become? Do you really need a college degree to achieve that?
  • If money were no object, would you still pursue that degree?
  • If you only have 5 years to live, what would you do in your remaining days?
  • If your only desire is to help your struggling family, are you aware of the many ways to earn money right now? Is it possible to do some of them even if you don’t have a college degree?
  • What are the things you’re passionate about? Are you doing them? Is there a way to make money from doing them?
  • What makes you curious? Or what are the things you always think about? Are those aligned with the college degree you plan to pursue?
  • What is that one thing you’re really good at? Is it possible to make money from doing that?
  • If you want to own a business, what kind of business would it be? And why? What’s holding you back from starting it?

There’s no right or wrong answer.

Try whatever options you have and learn through experience. Read books. Ask questions. Learn from others. Test your ideas.

You can always follow what you believe is best for you. But don’t stay stuck in one path.