Your Mom Went To College
Peter Thiel, who happens to be the billionaire who gave Facebook the money to get up and running and invented Paypal himself, is drawing a lot of flack for his opinion that college is overrated. Thiel is, however, putting his money where his mouth is and giving grants of up to $100,000 to 20 technology entrepreneurs hoping to form their own billion-dollar companies. It’s important to note here, Thiel did attend Stanford, and even it’s law school, before making his millions, or billion-plus. I can’t say I don’t agree with some of what the man has to say, but I think he’s definitely sending the wrong message.
By telling kids that college is overrated, Thiel is missing out on a very substantial point here. Not all kids can make millions simply from the “ideas” that they have, which is what some are going to see him as saying. This is dangerous because kids who really aren’t smart enough to make it on their own, or even disillusioned in thinking that the world will actually take the time to listen to them, are going to misinterpret this advice into never going to college and then not having the money later on.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow your dreams, but be smart about it. Know that you’re not going to be the next Thiel simply by showing up and pitching an idea to companies. The real world is as harsh as it sounds and nobody’s going to give you anything, no matter how smart you think you are. Instead, pitch these ideas while going to college, even if it is a little overpriced for your tastes. Federal loan interest rates are at an incredible low right now for students, and community colleges are always a great way to get core classes out of the way before heading to finish your degree at another school. And always remember, state schools aren’t secondary to private ones if you really put your work in.
The options are out there, and a degree is never a bad thing to have to fall back on in the long run. Other than that though, take on the thousands of couch-jockeying nerds out for these grants and hope for the best, just don’t count on an education-bashing billionaire to support you for the rest of your life when you’re not selected.