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Is higher education required for success?


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Is higher education required for success?


Our idea of a successful educational and career trajectory consists of several components: a good school a + a prestigious university + a year of study or internship abroad + MBA or master's degree. Or is it no longer necessary? Perhaps today it is enough to be talented and persistent to become successful? After the stories of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, it might seem like you don't have to study long and hard. Let's figure out what are the pros and cons of higher education.

Benefits of higher education

  • Around the world, the number of universities has grown significantly over the past 30 years, allowing more students to pursue higher education. For example, in the UK, more than 50% of high school graduates go to higher education.
  • High competition among universities has led to an improvement in learning conditions: universities offer to develop the skills necessary for future employment, an international diploma, job opportunities in large companies and high salaries. Additional criteria when choosing a university is a variety of student activities, an excellent campus.
  • Today's universities are research centers that accumulate scientists and practitioners, offering training and employment. The highest places in the rankings are occupied by universities with high rates of research activity - they determine the level of knowledge of graduates.
  • Internships and career opportunities open up opportunities for further employment and a successful career. Large British and American universities provide students with access to an international database of employers, training courses, develop job search skills, resume writing, organize job fairs, meetings with employers, invite career consultants, and organize large job fairs that employers come to several times a year
  • Studies show that the average salary of 25-30 year old graduates is 30% higher than that of "non-graduates", 90% of British university graduates find a job within 6 months after graduation.
  • For aspiring entrepreneurs, universities create business development centers, organize consultations, support, funding, training programs that allow students to bring ideas to life.
  • Universities offer ample opportunities for development in the field of sports, invest in sports facilities on campus, create educational programs related to sports, conduct scientific research in this area, provide financial support to the best student athletes, a range of additional services: therapy, research, work with trainers.

Disadvantages of higher education

  • Getting a higher education degree requires a lot of money, and the learning process remains costly.
  • Learning through loans leads graduates to long-term debt obligations.
  • It is more difficult for university graduates without work experience to find a job than for peers who have worked after school.
  • Much knowledge can be obtained in the process of independent study or during work, and it will cost less.

Millionaires without education

Research firm Wealth-X found in 2016 that nearly a third of the world's billionaires don't even have a bachelor's degree! Successful people who never went to college or dropped out of college:

  • Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing and transportation by creating the assembly line. But he did it with no engineering experience or business: at 16, he left the family farm to move to Detroit and became an apprentice in a mechanical workshop. Ford built his first car in 1896.
  • Anna Wintour has been the editor-in-chief of American Vogue since 1988. The British attended the North London Collegiate School for girls, but never received higher education. The daughter of a newspaper editor, she quickly rose through the ranks of fashion. "I think my father really decided for me that I should work in fashion."
  • Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple, has been a rebel in many ways. He showed an early interest in computing and attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but dropped out after just one semester.
  • Ellen DeGeneres , one of the most successful comic actresses and presenters in Hollywood history, attended the University of New Orleans but dropped out after her 1st semester. She earned odd jobs, from house painter to vacuum cleaner salesman to oyster picker, and performed in comedy clubs. By the 1990s, she had her own sitcom and is now the queen of daytime TV with her talk show Ellen.
  • Bill Gates left Harvard in 1975 to co-found Microsoft with Allen. He formalized his departure as an academic leave to return to school in case the business does not work.
  • Kim Kardashian and her family, who made business out of their luxury lifestyle. Kourtney and Rob Kardashian are the only children in the Kardashian and Jenner clan to graduate from college. Kim attended Pierce College in Los Angeles and worked at the family's Dash store. The blogger notes that she would like to continue her education when she gets older.

What to choose: higher education or an independent path to success?

The above examples are more likely exceptions than a rule: the list of successful people with diplomas from prestigious universities and scientific degrees will be much longer. Higher education has been and remains the best way to gain a theoretical foundation for work in science, medicine, engineering, law, architecture, finance and many other areas. Studying at the university teaches the methodology of working with information, allows you to establish social ties with industry professionals, and undergo practical training at leading enterprises. A diploma is the best documentary confirmation of the training of a young specialist, his skills and interest in the chosen field.

But is a tower needed in all areas? In your opinion, what specialties and professions should be transferred "on the rails" of secondary specialized education from higher, not to study for 5 years at the university?

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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