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Why Surfing Instead of College is a Good Idea


Postponing college to surf. That’s what Deborah Dunham intends to encourage her son to do after he graduates from high school. She writes in Forbes:

When the topic of college comes up, I always tell my son, “If you’re not ready, don’t waste your time or our money.” Because the College Board places the price for in-state colleges at $22,261. A year. And private schools? They are a whopping $43,289 a year.

Not that all of that isn’t worth it, but it’s too big of an investment to be taken lightly anymore. We are past the days where going to college can equate to years dedicated to simply “finding yourself.”

Dunham makes a strong point. Thirty years ago, before the cost of attending college increased by 1,120 percent, students and their families could afford to use college as a self-discovery period. Students could meander their way through the four years, experimenting with different areas of interests and study. Chances were they would land a decent job anyway, and consistently rise through a corporate hierarchy.

But both the jobs market and college costs have changed. And because the economic benefits of getting a degree still stand, it’s that much more important for students to use their time correctly. To glean the most from their four years so they’ll be able to tap into the new requirements of the jobs market and pay off their loans quickly.

Not all students are mature enough at 18 to approach their education this way. Waiting until they are isn’t a bad decision. And if a young person spends that time, say, working a menial job—that kind of daily reminder of what one’s life could look like without making the right choices wouldn’t hurt either.

[Surfing image courtesy Wikimedia]

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  • johngbarker

    ” . . .the economic benefits of getting a degree still stand…” True, but the variance in income among particular degrees has changed dramatically in recent years. Let the buyer beware!

    • Joseph Blieu

      You are very correct. I am always amazed when Universities that are supposed to exhibit sophisticated thinking claim that the average graduate benefits when it is only certain strata of graduates that benefit. And other strata that are definitely not benefitting.

  • Andrew Allison

    If ” . . . the economic benefits of getting a degree still stand. . .”, why is it that so many holders are un- or under-employed? VM has argued persuasively, as recently as today, that most of today’s jobs are in areas which require vocational training rather than a degree. An Associate Degree in something which is actually in demand may very well, in addition to incurring much less debt, result in higher lifetime earnings than, e.g. a humanities degree.

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