Why College Is A Bad Investment

All my life, I have loved studying but I do not like school. When I was a kid, unlike other kids, I would save all my money to buy books not candy or toys. When I was in middle school, I used to buy books at wholesale price, read and resell them to my classmates at retail price. I enjoyed gaining knowledge and money at the same time. I do not like to memorize anything because I have Google. The more I spend time at school, the more I hate it.  I feel like I am wasting time because I learn much more from life than any teacher.

Why do I need college, if I have Google?

And here is why I think college is a horrible investment. Let assume the average tuition is $15 000 a year.  I know it is much lower in Canada but keep in mind our post-secondary institution are subsidized. The government is investing into you [ or to be more correct your parents paid it in advance with taxes]. $15 000 x 4 years = $60 000 With $60 000  you can: - Start a startup

  • I hang out with a lot of startup founders. Everyone said it is the best experience they have ever had. No business school, even Harvard can actually teach you the skills better than doing it. If you become successful, you could be the next Mark Zuckerberg. If you don’t, you will still walk out with some valuable skills. Learning to accept failure is one of the most important lesson in life. It is priceless, $60000 is still too cheap.

 Have down payment to buy a small house.

  • From experience, investing in real estate  is one of the safest investments I know. Asian’s loves real estate. No matter where we go, the first thing we try to do is buy a house. Even if we will have to rent the house and live in one room, we will still do it. We believe that in order to settle down we need a roof over our heads. I would be very surprised if I meet a 30+  Asian that does not own at least one house. It looks like every Asian family has like at least 2 real estate properties: one to live, and rent the other.  My grandma came to this country 20 years with nothing. She cannot  even speak English but with her frugal lifestyle she bought two houses. Unlike college tuition, your house will still be there and most likely you will make a profit if you invest wisely. You will gain a lot of real estate knowledge. [ I am biased. My dad is real estate investor and consultant]

Travel around the world at least twice. 

  • There is no better way to learn the world than see it yourself. The more you go the more you will learn. Everyone has their own story and lesson. Everyday you can learn a new lesson, learn to look at the world differently. You learn to go beyond your comfort zone.
And there are other options. I know not everyone has $60 000 under their mattress to do any of the above, but being debt free is still better.BUT
I need college to find a job
  • I don’t think so. If you are willing to start from the bottom, there are always way to move up. Some of most successful people I know did not go to college. They followed their dreams, worked hard, and  gained a lot of experience. Many of them are high level executive at big companies before they turn 30. They started from entry-level and worked their way up. Their friends who went to college usually wasted 4 years and ended up in the same type of job that they would get without a degree.
  • People forget that college is about gaining knowledge not just a piece of paper. If you can find another way to do it, there is no reason to waste time in college. If you want to learn something, you will learn it no matter what.
  • Most people I know do not practice what they studied. For example a friend of mine Matt Harty, who was the Asian Pacific Vice-President of FOX Network and now is the General Manager at Annalect Group.  Anyone would expect him to study marketing or maybe PR. Matt actually studied law but never practiced it.
I go to college for the networking.
  • I make  hundreds of  new friends outside college every month. It is true that I am pretty popular on social networks with 60 000 followers on Twitter, but I also meet a lot of people in real life everyday. You do not need to go to college to build relationship. There are a lot of opportunities to do it. Most of the time, people don’t bother to try to build relationship. Opportunity will not come unless you go out and find it.  Join a MeetUp group, check out different events in your city, make new friends on social media.  And if you think social media friendships are not real, you need to read Diana Adam’s article [ @adamsconsulting]

 My parents/family/___ wants me to go to college.

  • Life is too short to live someone’s else life.  If they love you, they will understand.
  • I love this line from a Penelope Trunk’s article “Going to college doesn’t show anything except that the kids or the parents (or both) got scared and gave up on the idea of individualized learning at the most crucial point in a kid’s transition to the adult world.”
Saying no to college is not for everyone. If you want to become a lawyer or doctor, going to college is a requirement.  Everyone learns in a different way. Our education system does not teach me anything, but it might work for you. This is just my opinion.If  I can go back in time, I would not go to college. I would prefer staying home reading classical literature, running around meeting people, taking interesting classes, running a charity, helping people etc. I learn so much more from the people around me than from any teacher.

And if I can, I would take my little sis Monster out of school, and throw her into life.

When I have kids, I am planning to home-school them. I find our education system is just too messed up. They do not teach the kids the skills they need. They can go to college if they want to, but it is not something I would expect from them.  It is their choice and I want them to experience the most they can.
It is your turn: What do you think about college?
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Cam Mi Pham

CamMi Pham (@cammipham) is a digital marketer by day, blogger by night She is a vintage-a-holic, tea drinker and shoe lover.
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  • CandiceFaust

    @cammipham Couldn’t agree more! unfortunately, employers like to base intelligence on a piece of paper, typical MBArs :P

    • cammipham

      @CandiceFaust MBArs are the worse

  • BenATweet

    @cammipham I agree, thanks for sharing!

    • cammipham

      @BenATweet :)

  • carinsurednow

    RT @cammipham NEW POST Why College Is A Bad Investment – http://t.co/s9fEP4at

    • cammipham

      @carinsurednow thanks for sharing dear :)

  • LoveNCompany

    @cammipham It is somewhat a good investment. You will have that knowledge forever.

    • cammipham

      @LoveNCompany what kind of knowledge are you talking about you can still gain knowledge outside school

      • LoveNCompany

        @cammipham There are things we’re forced to learn in school we may not have known outside it. Altho $60,000 is a huge investment for it.

  • http://saigonnezumi.com/ kevmille

    I got my masters but what I gained the most was not from what I learned in class, it was I could learn studying IT and other topics online. the problem with universities now is that they run themselves like businesses, education takes a backseat.

    • cammipham

      @kevmille yes everything is about business nowadays…

  • http://davidkrug.org/ David Krug

    I love most of this advice. I’m not sold on real estate because I love the ability and freedom I have to travel to new locations. But otherwise your absolutely right about everything else. Thanks for sharing.

    • cammipham

      @David Krug lol I came from a real estate family …of course for me buying house making sense. Real Estate feeds me for many year

      Yes travel is always one of the best way to learn. Working on my side hoping to travel more within the next few year

      • http://davidkrug.org/ David Krug

        @cammipham It sure looks iike you have a huge engaged audience. Glad I stumbled onto it. :)

  • AleDiazMe

    Funny, just today I had to make a decision on returning to school this year to pursue a lifelong dream or not. What is stopping me is my last 2 years of experiences outside of school, which have opened my eyes to living the life that I want based on building my own business rather than going back to school, spending $20,000 and end up working for someone else in a starter position. It is two very different roads to take, I don;t know which one will make me happier and which one will make me more successful, short-term, long-term.

    Tough call, I believe there is a right time to walk each of these roads. But I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very suited.

    • cammipham

      @AleDiazMe it is different for each person because we all come from different background. What works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. :) you have experienced both world, that is great. Just do whatever you feel is right and figure out along the way…because we cant predict the future

  • valelavale

    I agree with you…surely you get to learn so much more by travelling…anyway you need college if you wanna be a lawyer or a doctor and so on ! I think being home schooled would be a good compromise after all ;) Greetings from Italy, in our system people graduate at quite an old age cause even if they do it at a very young age they end up being unemployed, this is so depressing ! I attended University and have a job and consider myself lucky enough !

    Fashion and Cookies

  • HerCravings

    I agree that you do not necessarily need to go to college to make it and make it big. I have earned my degree and a diploma and I’m left unemployed at this moment, it sucks! I know people who didn’t even finish h.s. and are making more money than I am at this moment, that also sucks. There have been days when I was very adamant with telling others that going to post-secondary is useless, it’s nothing but a piece of paper. But, looking back, it’s beyond that. To me, it’s having the discipline to go through with it.

    Yes, you can learn so much from people around you but there is a difference between a mind of a person who went to college, university, or simply stayed uneducated. Of course, there will always be those genius who are exempted to this, but to say that there’s no difference between someone who went to school and didn’t clearly shows how limited your thinking can be.

    Also, in a corporate world, that piece of paper is what would give you the extra figure to your salary. One of my cousin was doing the same job as her superior but she wasn’t given the title because she didn’t finish her degree yet. I had another classmate in university who already has a diploma and years of experience and said the only reason he’s obtaining his degree is to be able to move-up the ladder and that degree is what will solidify his raise. There are many jobs that requires education aside from being a doctor, such as Psychologist, Chartered Accountants, Financial Planner, Social Worker…and so on.

    You make valid points as to what you can do with the money you used for college, but as you ended your argument saying you went to school and wasted it because you didn’t learn anything, the system did not fail you, you failed the system. I feel sorry for you that you stayed in school and not learn anything at all. Sure, I do not remember every single thing I have learned in class, but from what stuck around, I know more in certain areas than an average Joe because I am educated, studied the logic and theory behind it.

    • cammipham

      @HerCravings Like I said it depends on which industry you are in and depend on who you are.

      I went to school because I actually need a licence to do what I wanted to do. They did not teach what I needed and I taught myself. A lot of thing have changed in the last few year, I am not the same person I was 4 years ago.

      I don’t think college is requirement to be educated. If you want something, you will find a way to learn it. I think it is more about you than where you learn it. There are ton of people who went to school and pretty much still be uneducated. I learned so much more the “uneducated” people than some of the people who went to college. They have the real knowledge not just from books.

      True there are a lot of place, they still value a piece of paper especially in Asia. In my opinion, if you have what they want you can always get the deal you want. You just need to manage to control it. When they need you, they will whatever they can to get you. It is Supply and Demand law.

  • KallvisGents

    This is why I didn’t go to university for fashion. RT @cammipham: Why College Is A Bad Investment http://t.co/Vxvl0AL7

  • Surgeon806

    Awesome read. Unfortunately In the field I have chosen a college degree and professional license is necessary. I am studying in mental health and unless you go to school the matrix wont let you handle clients but I am 100% with this blog. For many school is a bad investment and I believe in 50 years it will be obselete because too many people will have degrees. The system will have to come up with another way to seperate haves and have nots and keep a certain population of individuals under.

    • cammipham

      @Surgeon806 yes same here when I went to school because I needed a license. I start seeing company using different method to hire people now…not all base on resume. It is a good sign. It is so easy to get a degree now. I can’t wait to see how our education system will change

  • brasonja

    @melissary LOL why not 60 times? :P

  • keewood

    @melissary thanks much for the RT!

  • francineangel

    A lot of very good points! If our parents will just do the math… they spent a huge amount to have their children finish college only for them to earn average every month- worse, some do not even get the chance to get a job.

    • cammipham

      @francineangel my parents want to send me ivy league for grad school [ I am not going ]. That is pretty much an entire house. Ways too expensive in my opinion.

  • dynamyk

    While I definitely agree with a lot of the points you listed, college is like anything else, you’ll get more out of it the more you put in. I’m not the biggest fan of traditional education however I learned a lot of my business skills in college. These skills were not gained in the classroom, but by running student groups, having a part time job on campus, learning time management and delegation etc. If you just do the bare minimum then yes its a waste of money.

    In terms of the points listed on what you can do instead, a lot of those things you can do in college. A lot of campuses have rolled out start up incubators in their school which instead of throwing $60 000 into a start up they will provide the resources, space and mentorship to make sure you have guidance in doing so. As for travelling around the world, exchange programs are made for that.

    I love the real estate example and that one I totally agree with, not enough people think about the investment early enough in their life.

    I concur with the point that you can work hard and move your way up in a company, but you can use the same motivation to work hard in college (not only in class) and gain meaningful employment based on the connections you made in college.

    I love this post and I’m just throwing my 2 cents in, while I don’t think I got the money’s worth in classroom knowledge I got way more value than what I paid for in real world skills and connections over my 4 years.

    Keep posting away, love the blog :D

    • cammipham

      @dynamyk Good to hear that school is providing more resource for students. It also depend which school and program you are in. I am the odd case because I kind of ran a non-profit when I 17. I kind of had the experience I need before I went to college. I didn’t think it was challenging enough. I always look for new and fresh experience. I don’t like to just learn I like to apply it to real life….I guess I am the girl who rather breaks her leg than put on training wheels lol

      The real estate example, agree most people would not think about investment that early. once a gain i am the odd case lol Because I grew up in the industry. It is like the first lesson I learned

      Like I said it is different for everyone because we all come from different background [ I should reread my post but I think I said it :P] . It is just one person’s opinion :)

  • veterantraveler

    @cammipham it’s not a bad investment. It’s investing in other priorities.It’s still a safe place to put your dough: Grass earn more than non

    • cammipham

      @veterantraveler depend on which direction r u going

  • knowingthinker

    @cammipham debt

  • JulianMKTR

    @cammipham “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”-Malcolm X

  • cammipham

    @RightNowOwl :) thanks dear i am glad you like it

  • DAFLIMultimedia

    @cammipham We are using that article for the magazine. The people should read that by the masses.

    • cammipham

      @DAFLIMultimedia what mag?

  • AthleticCapital

    @cammipham Great post! Keep up the great work!

    • cammipham

      @AthleticCapital I am glad you like it dear

  • maticMagister

    @cammipham u want more stupid people walking this earth???

  • crystaljhollis

    @cammipham I understand your points. But not all college investments are good and not all are bad. It depends on how much you get out of it

    • cammipham

      @crystaljhollis like i say nothing is totally right or wrong….there are some career its worth it

    • cammipham

      @crystaljhollis if you just want the knowledge there are so many way to learn it w.o going to college

    • cammipham

      @crystaljhollis it depends which school, which program, what is your expectation

    • cammipham

      @crystaljhollis I expected something groundbreaking that is why i was disappointed

  • kaaist

    You make some great points! I agree that with enough self-motivation and creativity, there are a lot of better ways to spend the money.
    College is still a decent option for people that want a traditional path to a typical job, although success is nowhere near as guaranteed as it used to be. For people who want something more and are willing to assume more risk, there is better value in learning how to the hustle and taking the initiative to teach yourself online what you need to know to get to where you want to be.
    With technological innovation changing business and society so rapidly, it’s hard for institutions like Universities to keep up.  A degree doesn’t really prove a whole lot anymore. Businesses are more interested in what you can do to provide real value to them rather than just what you know. I have found that the practical skills I learned on the job and taught myself online have been much more important than anything I’ve learned in a classroom.

    • http://www.cammipham.com/ cammipham

       @kaaist of course this path is not for everyone. Not everyone has the confidence to challenge the society. If you want to do any Prof job like doctor and lawyer you don’t really have option. But if you do more creative, technical or PR; it is optional. You don’t need one to be successful. And at the end of the day it all comes down to connection for jobs

  • cammipham

    @kaaist thanks for sharing :)

    • kaaist

      @cammipham No problem, I really enjoyed the post.

      • cammipham

        @kaaist :) i am glad you like it

  • cammipham

    @hannatran16 :)

  • alexglee

    @cammipham But you learn how to spell in college!

    • cammipham

      @alexglee lol did you catch all my spelling, grammar mistake? do you think i learned anything haha to be honest my writing got much better

      • alexglee

        @cammipham you said that in tweets it is most important to get the information out

        • cammipham

          @alexglee yes

        • cammipham

          @alexglee a lot of time just push the information out and fix along the way. you cant be perfect

        • alexglee

          @cammipham So I focused in that instead. I read your tweets more often than your blog posts

        • alexglee

          @cammipham agreed! Unless you have time to write, then it should be perfect.

        • cammipham

          @alexglee yeah my tweets are my random thought. even my blog i published it right after i write lots of mistakes

        • cammipham

          @alexglee i cant edit my work right after i write it.usually i have to take a week & look back..by that time my post might be irrelevant

        • cammipham

          @alexglee if you are brand, you should try to be perfect. if you have to pick between content and writing quality i choose the first

        • cammipham

          @alexglee a lot of the time the idea is not even good, i want to hear feedback

        • alexglee

          @cammipham sometimes that happens but I’m pretty good with MLA and APA styles now. My double -s ,s ()s and more. Im getting better ecerytime

        • alexglee

          @cammipham but aren’t you the brand in today age?

        • cammipham

          @alexglee yes but im too small i have less ppl picking on me :P

        • alexglee

          @cammipham this is true but shouldnt we try to be better? I guess we do get better if we simply keep at it!

    • cammipham

      @alexglee from blogging, i have some kind friends who would help me with it too


    @cammipham lol let’s just all not go to college… see what happens. (That’s horable :P)

    • cammipham

      @SEGA_GENESIZ lol would like to see what is gonna happen

  • jovannacherry

    @cammipham ….u made some good points but i still don’t agree

    • cammipham

      @jovannacherry it works for some people it doesnt work fo some….respect your belief

  • Elnoraxxidsje

    @EliStevanovic http://t.co/RspkJc4a

  • bayboy9400

    RT @cammipham Why College Is A Bad Investment http://t.co/OU0cV0P7

  • bayboy9400

    @cammipham oxox were u been

    • cammipham

      @bayboy9400 i have been great

      • bayboy9400

        @cammipham thats good were u live

      • bayboy9400

        RT @cammipham @bayboy9400 i have been great

  • bayboy9400

    RT @cammipham Why College Is A Bad Investment http://t.co/OU0cV0P7

  • cammipham

    @brandonpierce thanks for the RT

  • thenewladytimes

    The timing to stumble across this post could not be more perfect for me.  Let’s just say that I am in my early thirties, have an incomplete business degree and am on hiatus from being a HR Professional.  I ask myself everyday if  I should complete my “parked” degree.
    Today I am deciding not to and will continue to live the creative dream.
    PS This is my personal response and I do not expect it to fly with the rest of the world … 

    • http://www.cammipham.com/ cammipham

       @thenewladytimes yes a lot of time people just don’t understand…everyone learn differently and sometime school doesn’t work for some people. I am glad you choose to follow your dream. At the end of the day a college degree doesnt make you happy, following your dream and do what works for you will 

  • birchdelight

    @cammipham oh wow thanx!

  • daniel_dinnie

    @cammipham I couldn’t agree with you more!!

  • veggefatale

    @cammipham I’m glad I didn’t bother with college. As #NickNaylor said, “I have a Bachelors in Kicking Ass & Taking Names.”

  • http://www.schoolanduniversity.com/ online degrees

    still college is the most traditional  way to achieve your typical satisfying job

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