College: To Go, or Not To Go [Updated]

As an entrepreneur, you have to make a lot of difficult decisions in your life. I’ve had to make many of those decisions for my business, but not until recently, have I had to make such a big decision that can affect my entire life β€” to go, or not go to college. Even Louis Gray, one of Teens in Tech Networks advisors, and a personal mentor, has written a whole blog post on this issue: The Great Debate: Is College the Right Path to Succeed?

Here’s my position. College is either the best four years of your live, or the four years of your life where you’ve wasted those four years, and wasted a lot of money. I don’t want to look back when I’m 30 and say that I wasted four years of my life in college, when I could have been working on my next startup, or working with an awesome startup. I simply don’t want to regret making such a decision like that.

On the other side, we have people telling me the some of their best friends, and partners for life where found at college. Also, that college is a great way to make connections. Seeing that I’m in Silicon Valley, and an active member of the tech scene, I don’t feel like making connections is something that college is going to teach me. Another reason. Entrepreneurship. This Site helped me having a philosophy that entrepreneurship can not be taught. It is something that you learn along the way of your business as you grow. If you ever need loans to help finance a project or something very important, then check out this agency that’ll give you hard money.

Please leave all your comments below β€” I really appreciate any comments and/or opinions.

Update: Thanks for all the comments and opinions. Looks like I’ll be going to college. More details to come. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date.

84 thoughts on “College: To Go, or Not To Go [Updated]

    1. Personally, I would say not to go and tackle later in your years. I am in the process of creating my website mycollegedereesucks.com due to my experience not utilizing my degree in today’s job market. College purpose is to teach you responsibility and dedication which will be applicable in the job market. Just try taking one class and see how it is while balancing your professional life. The only way you can make that decision if you try it first and then you will no your answer. I do not want to be bias and say, don’t go to college but I did regret it.

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  1. I think it’s not impossible to do both.

    College gives you a lot of opportunities, a great network, time to think, space to grow – lots of good stuff.

    And there is NO rule against being an entrepreneur in college. In fact, it’s becoming more common with every passing semester. Yes, you end up burning the candle at both ends at times, but it can also turn out really well. And if push comes to shove, you can quit (college) while you’re ahead (in your startup), no? See: Zuckerberg. Or vice versa. Either way, you don’t lose.

    In the end, however, I have to say that in order to be exceptional, you need to have all pistons firing. Being a great entrepreneur AND a college graduate – now THAT is something to be proud of. And I think you’re exceptional enough to do both. Go for it, Daniel. Seriously.

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    1. I agree with Jolie. I’m a college senior and I’ve started 3 projects during college time, 1 non-profit and 2 for profit. I think that if you go to college and study something that you’re passionate about you’ll get huge benefits for your startup because you will come out better than before. And get lot’s of knowledge from class and the teachers, just because you know how you will use that knowledge.

      I don’t know what concentration you are going to choose, but if you are already tech savvy and want a Tech Related startup, maybe go for a Business with Computer Science degree. Try and learn something that will help you that maybe you wouldn’t go if you were not in college. See Steve Jobs Stanford Keynote, he liked Caligraphy, do that also…get into classes that don’t seem to relate because somehow the diversity helps your brain become more creative.

      College will help, mainly because you have a reason for learning. I study business and I enjoy a business class because I know that all I learn i then can apply to mine and make it a bit better.

      If the startup grows, quit college, but never ever quit learning.

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  2. I stated the following in a Twitter @ reply to you just a few minutes back:

    Daniel, this coming from a now college freshman: I would defiantly go. No matter how much of a career you might already have lined up, the more knowledge, more learning and more thinking you will experience those four special years can never be a bad thing! I can’t see ‘anyone’ not benefiting from attending a college/university and not coming out *even more* on top. Good luck with your decision, and best wishes to your future.

    –Christian

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    1. I agree with Christian. I am also college freshman. college has an environment where we can learn lots of things regarding to our studies and more different things which can help us during our entire life. So, I think study in college would be a lot better rather than not going to college.

      Am I right Christian ?

      πŸ™‚

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      1. Hee hee! πŸ˜‰

        But seriously. There are very few attractive, available young women in the space. The ratio is ridiculously skewed. In terms of life planning, it might be a good idea to sow those seeds now.

        Man, I am WAY too pragmatic.

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      2. This, for what its worth, is the only thing I regret about not going to school.

        If you decide to leave school early, you may want to start developing and interest in fashion, advertising, art or a similar field dominated by the fairer gender.

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  3. Daniel,

    I really admire what you’ve accomplished already – more than I have at 22 – but I really think you’re young and inexperienced enough that college may have something to teach you.

    For you, college wouldn’t be about starting you on your career path. It would be more about finding people (friends, partners, significant others – especially valuable since there’s a relatively limited selection of people your age in your current circles) and expanding your knowledge of other things. Most entrepreneurs ignore me when I say this, but there is (at least a little) more to life than your startup. There is more to learn and be interested in than just what Silicon Valley and your current area of knowledge have to offer. It’s too early to isolate yourself from other opportunities.

    Personally, I’m deeply involved in SV too, but I majored in Political Economy and Linguistics, two things that made little practical sense but were incredibly valuable for my own interest and enrichment. Academics aside, I lived on my own, got a taste of a different place and lifestyle, met different kinds of people, grew up, and had a little bit of fun. Four years of college was anything but a waste of time.

    I really hope you decide to go to college. Continue what you’re doing by all means – being in school doesn’t mean you have to stop working – but I promise it’s worth going.

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      1. That’s what I did, and it worked for me. Just don’t get caught up in the “You’re making a huge mistake!” stuff that people will say. Some people take it personally if you drop out of college.

        -Erica

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  4. One of the reasons I went to a six-week college program this summer was to help decide on the very same thing. And I’m definitely going back. On top of the education, I met SO many good friends there in just six weeks — I can’t imagine how many great people I’ll get to know over four whole years.

    I really wish it weren’t true, but you can’t avoid the fact that the college line on the resume can come in handy.

    Besides, we’ve both been multi-tasking in high school these past four years, and at least there’s no way college can be any *worse*, right? πŸ˜‰

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      1. As someone who’s done the hiring: It means a lot.

        Intelligence. Persistence. Longevity. Focus. The ability to conform when needed and innovate on a deadline. Certain social skills that are at a premium in our industry. A keen eye for the future.

        Oh, it means a lot to a lot of people.

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  5. Go to collegeβ€”you may not need the diploma to be able to have a career, but I think those are four years in which anyone would mature immensely, and I’m sure you can do plenty of entrepreneurship as a college student.

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  6. Like I said on IM, if you don’t go, you’ll regret it. But on the other hand, you would have a ton of time to work on things like TC, TinT, Qik, and the Intel Insiders and possibly new startups and businesses.

    I say go for it. You will meet a lot of people, you will have fun, and you will overall like it. But then again, I’m not even in High School yet, so….

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  7. Go for a year or so and if you don’t like it you can drop out. You will learn something from at least going that one year. It may not be your ideal thing you wanted to learn but you could end up learning something very well worth the time.

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  8. Hi Daniel
    I really love what you do your such an inspiration?
    Why don’t you try and do both?
    If that doesn’t work out you can allways drop out of college but only you can make your own decision ?
    What ever you decied it will be for your future and for the best good luck with whatever you choose
    from a fellow teen techy
    P.S this won’t be the last we hear of you you will be around for a long tim

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  9. Do it. I know I wasted most of my time at Teens in Tech doing HS stuff preparing for college, but I really think that the benefits outweigh the costs. It could be a way to meet more and more business partners.

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  10. Daniel,

    Please go to college. One thing in life that stays the same is that things change…all the time. You have a bright future, there is no doubt about that. I saw you speak at the recent WIC meeting and you are quite impressive for your age. But as an example, someone close to me also had a bright future when he graduated from HS but things changed and now, he’s in his 40s, he wishes he had a degree.

    I have a lot of respect for Mr. Calacanis, but I think his advice – in this case – is short sighted.

    Let me put it to you this way…my Mother always told me that “you can learn to live with failure, but never with regret”. I do career counseling, so if you’d like to speak live, I’d be happy to take some time for you. We are connected (LI, FB, Tw), so just reach out anyway that you are comfortable if you’d like to talk.

    Warm Regards,
    Valerie

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    1. Hi Valerie,

      Anecdotes tend to be meaningless in this. I would never have been able to sell a business for over $1 million at age 26 had I completed college. It wouldn’t have been possible. I worked my butt off.

      I wouldn’t say Daniel shouldn’t go, though. Go for a year. I knew in my first year that I’d drop out. Actually, I knew in high school I’d never complete college, and when a college professor recommended I drop out in my first year and “seek my fortune” (this was 1999, in Silicon Valley), I took his advice.

      I have no regrets. I actually rather enjoy being a college dropout πŸ™‚ But then again, I never responded well to authority, and neither college nor jobs were the right fit for me.

      -Erica

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  11. You bring up some good points. I have thought about this myself many times. I have a few more years to think it over though.

    I totally agree with you that entrepreneurship cannot be taught. The knowledge that I have gained through experience ends up being more valuable to my life. I even feel this way about high school. A lot of the stuff that we do in school doesn’t exactly matter to me directly. However, I have to go to school, so I do.

    I feel like if given the option, I probably wouldn’t go to school, at least not every day. However, the concept of having a well rounded education is very important to me.

    The more you know, the better chance you have to succeed. You have been very lucky recently that so many opportunities have come up that are perfect for you. But, you never know what the future will bring.

    So many successful entrepreneurs have had the same thoughts that they don’t need college to do what they do. Take Steve Jobs for example, he didn’t go to school and he has started one of the most successful companies ever. A college education for him most likely wouldn’t have changed how successful Apple has become today.

    So, if you choose not to go to college, you could very easily turn out okay and be very successful.

    On the other hand, a college education is never a waste of time. I’m sure that even those who didn’t go to college and were very successful wish they had gone to college. In college you have the opportunity to learn so much about yourself that you can’t learn anywhere else.

    I would say plan on going to college some time in your life, but maybe not right away. You could apply for college this year but take a gap year. I know a lot of people who have done that. They go through all the trouble of applying for college and getting all that out of the way. They then can take a year of to do what they are passionate about without having to worry about college.

    But yes, go to college!

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  12. Daniel,
    Since you already have the connections to land a successful job, I don’t think college is necessary. Do what you enjoy, and be good at it. Some of the most successful people, didn’t graduate high school.

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  13. College will be a very good experience. You may find more interesting people and the whole experience of college will enhance your life skills. You will learn, how to learn.

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  14. One; a degree (with decent grades) which you like doing gives you a form of safety net as ‘normal’ employment with decent income is (at normal econ times) alway at hand. If all fails, goes wrong, or Sillicon Valley is destroyed in a earth quake. You still can move to Seattle or Canada and get a normal job in the tech space or admin space or engineer space.
    Two; while at college you read a lot and converse a lot, means that your field of view, or mind, your openness will be broadend enormously. Lots of econ prof say ‘read as much diverse material in econ as much as possible and enjoy discovering’ bc later in business life you won’t find as much time at hand like you had while at college.
    Three; I am 26, and took on University on my own last yr. Abroad. First of my family. I had not the chance back then in Germany, I forego income and business experience, but the degree and the time, wisdom, knowledge is worth it. Future income is higher, I am doing a econ joint entrepreneurship degree and coming from the tech scene … I like the view from here. And I want to give it my kids too.

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  15. As I stated on Twitter, college is a great place to learn how to learn as well as make lifelong friendships. As a young entrepreneur, I think true friendship can be hard to come by because you’re always spending time making “connections”. You need someone to hang out with when you don’t want to be working πŸ˜‰ Also, as someone mentioned, college is one of the best ways to meet a future spouse in my opinion, but it’s definitely not the only way.

    As you already know, I’m starting my senior year of college and I’m only 18. And even though I’m spending a lot of time studying, I have a lot of time to work on iPhone apps, websites, and travel. If you really want to work during college, you can, no problem.

    Another thing you could look at is just getting an associates, which shows you went to college and received a degree (as opposed to dropping out), which opens you up down the road to continue your education without trying to transfer credits.

    Ultimately, whatever you decide, you’ll have millions of opportunities pass your way but I personally think that you’ll be more prepared for those opportunities with some higher-education under your belt in addition to all your industry experience.

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  16. Jolie hit the nail on the head. Go for the girls. Let’s face it, TechCrunch and startup world in general aren’t going to help you much there.

    You’ve already got all the business connections you need. You already know more about startups than most adults. The real opportunity for you isn’t to learn more about business, technology, entrepreneurship – it’s to learn about yourself.

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  17. Personally, it was never really a question for me to go to college. It was always what you did after high school. But once I got there I often questioned why I was there (in classes). For the most part, I was being taught outdated material (technology moves too fast for academia) for a degree no one knew existed (informatics). I was always tempted to quit just freelance or get an entry level position somewhere and work my way up like I would have to do after college (only I’d have a few years on my peers).

    I stuck it out, completed the 4 years, got my degree, and I don’t regret a thing. After it was all said and done, I learned that college wasn’t about what I learned inside the classroom, but what I learned outside of it. You may network fine with people from SV, but it’s still a bubble. Go to a university and try to get a group project done with a farmer from Indiana, a princess from Long Island, and an overseas student who can’t help with writing the group paper because their first language isn’t English. There are also things you can get away with socially in college that you can’t at any other point in your life.

    College in America is an experience, great for most, that everyone should experience IMHO. Like Jason Calacanis said, go for a year and if you don’t like it leave. My money’s on you not leaving. Go, enjoy, keep the drunk pics off Facebook πŸ˜‰

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  18. Go. If you use the experience wisely and don’t go just to party, you’ll get a lot out of it. Also, college is very… you oriented. You have a lot more options and customization if you will. Granted, I’m a year or so younger than you and have never been to college, I still think it’s a valuable time of someone’s life, and hell. It’s just four years, what 15% of your life? It’s really not that big of a deal if you fuck up. Also, just wanted to let you know that you’ve expired me (inorite!) to do some more stuff after we chatted about Tweetie and now I’ve started my own iPhone development company, so thank you!

    John Costa

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  19. I think you should give it a try. I’m also a senior, and I know I might be biased (as an Asian American, I’ve always been expected to go to college), but though you obviously have the insight and vision to succeed without college, you might end up always having that “what if” floating in the back of your mind, and any such regret might hold you back. Anyway, college is a chance to immerse yourself in a community that is vastly different from the one you grew up in, and made up of people whom you can learn from because they have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. And I’m sure the social scene draw can’t hurt. πŸ™‚

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  20. I’m with Calacanis. A few years ago, Ben Casnocha was in a similar situation. I told him that if he didn’t go, he’d always wonder, but that if he didn’t drop out, I’d be very surprised.

    A lot of the signaling value of college lies in simply getting admitted. If you like it, stay. If you don’t, go.

    Ben lasted 18 months.

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  21. My vote is for going to college. I didn’t have a choice.. my parents made me, but I didn’t have anything cool going on like you did at the time. I do now and as a result of the networking I did in college I have met some amazing people, entirely changed my track (I started off doing computer engineering), and now my startup is working off of money that my university invested in us with.

    I actually spent 11 semester (4.5 years, but some summer courses as well) in college – not because I failed out (graduated with honors!) but because I changed my major a year into it and then I decided to take it a bit slow as I had so many other side projects going on. You can definitely be an entrepreneur in college!

    A lot of people get blindsighted by these rare stories of people not going to college and doing great things.. you can’t just assume that you’re one of those people (even if you are!). Go to college, take an interesting web-geared major if the universities you’re looking at offer them. Chances are a good bit of the curriculum will be fun and easy since you know so much about the space already. It was like that for me in a few of my classes when my blog started getting pretty big in college. My professors would ask me to comment on certain things or explain others in class, as a sort of expert haha.

    Don’t even think about the cost of college… it’s absolutely nothing compared to what you will be making just a few years after college. My college education and related costs was somewhere near $160k but I’m not sweating it and neither should you.. you’ll be making bank soon enough my friend. πŸ™‚

    Contrary to what you might think, college does *not* suck up all your time. I finished up at a top-ranked engineering school with honors and I wasn’t the type to live at the library or anything. I had enough time to blog several hours a day, play around with friends, play lots of ultimate frisbee, spend hours at the dining halls talking with friends, and so on. I actually miss college now. With 100+ people living on the same floor, it is ridiculously easy to get a ton of people out to do something. You will never have that chance again. I have to call up 15 people now to get at least 2 friends to join me for dinner and drinks. Such a pain in the ass!

    PS – if it’s not too late, apply to Georgia Tech! We have fast Internets here. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for the comments, Paul. Your the exact person I look up to when it comes to college and the startup life, with Skribit and Georgia Tech. I want to go to a college, if I go, that accepts students that do a lot of extra work, outside of school, and understand that sometimes, the work outside of school is more important then math class. I would love to go visit George Tech, and check it, and hang in Atlanta for a week πŸ™‚

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      1. Yeah more and more schools are recognizing students that have passions outside of the classroom. I won an award from GT about “Success Beyond the Campus” hehe. Let us know what you decide!

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  22. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but let me share the stories of two people who attended Reed – Steve Jobs, and me.

    Steve Jobs attended Reed for roughly one semester, and concluded that he was wasting his parents’ money by attending. He dropped out, had some other life experiences, and achieved a certain level of stratospheric success.

    I attended Reed for four years, got my bachelor’s degree, eventually got an MBA, but from a business perspective it’s pretty safe to say that I haven’t had the success that Steve Jobs has. I presently work in a 20,000+ person company and would probably be classified as middle management. I certainly don’t have the control over my business that Steve Jobs does.

    Yet I’ll argue that there are experiences that I’ve had that Steve Jobs will never have in his life. The chance to pursue multiple fields of study – not on your timeline, but on someone else’s, forcing you to get something done on schedule. (I don’t think anyone at Apple would tell Jobs to get the memo written by tomorrow, or else.) The chance to meet people that you never would have met otherwise. The chance to have a freedom that you will never have again.

    With all due respect to everything that you’ve already accomplished, I’d strongly recommend that you spend the time in college. If you skip this opportunity now, it will be nearly impossible to make it up later.

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  23. Hey Daniel,

    I know exactly what you’ve been going through… I’ve dropped out of high school, I’ve dropped out of college, and I’ve contemplated this at least 4 times throughout my years in college.

    But here I am, still in college. And here I am, enjoying the incredible friends I’ve made, leveraging the knowledge I’ve gained, and happy that I decided to come back.

    A few things happened. When I dropped out of college (the first time), I thought about how pointless the degree was. I knew that I had a pretty good resume, and having that stupid piece of paper (a diploma) wouldn’t help me out in life. And I insist that my mentality is still correct. When anyone told me to just get the diploma, it made me closer to saying “fuck off, I don’t need college.”

    But one person single-handedly changed my mentality. A very successful entrepreneur called me 3 days before classes were to start up again. He dropped out of college before his senior year, and another very successful entrepreneur convinced him to go back. He passed on the information to me, and here I am passing it onto you:

    College has nothing to do with the degree, and everyone knows it. It comes down to making friends, building relationships, and most importantly, finding closure. As someone before mentioned, “If you never go, you’ll never know.” And that has plagued my mom for all of her life. If you go to college for just two weeks, you’ll probably fall in love with it, because it’s the complete opposite from high school. You get to choose your field of study. You get to choose your friends. You get to work on whatever you want to work on, and college will only aid that.

    If you went to college for only 6 months, those would be the most exciting 6 months of your life. And even if you ended up not liking college, I guarantee you that you’ll never regret having gone for that one semester.

    Feel free to call me to discuss this further if you’d like. πŸ™‚

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    1. “If you went to college for only 6 months, those would be the most exciting 6 months of your life.”

      Seriously?

      I must be more weird than I thought! College was boring for me compared to running a startup.

      -Erica

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  24. A few things you should note is that (1) you will always have some way of improving yourself in some way, and you must do so, and that (2) nothing is forever, and it’s not that you learn the facts verbatim in college but that you learn how to look above and beyond them for the true meaning.

    You don’t need college to learn these things, and it can impede it at times.

    In argument for going, it’s a different experience than anything else, and one of the keys to a successful and happy life is experiencing as much as possible. The books aren’t necessarily holding secrets, you could just go to Amazon’s repository of knowledge.

    Your life won’t be permanently ruined either way. More importantly is that you aren’t limited to just focusing on school, meaning that you could still be entrepreneurial while also being scholastic. It even opens new direct markets to you.

    To summarize, I recommend you go and if you determine that it is not turning out to be a productive endeavor, quit. Don’t get short-sighted and fail to see if your efforts are worthwhile and meaningful.

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  25. As a fifth-year senior in college, let me say that despite the cost and the hard work, I would go here again in a heartbeat. And let me put in a little plug for my school – Kettering University (http://www.kettering.edu). We have a required co-op program, which means you go to school for 11 weeks and work for 12-14 weeks. You can work wherever you want, and some students have been self-employed, I believe. The university would definitely be willing to work with you, as they promote entrepreneurship (though not as much as I think they could). Plus you’d be going to school with lots of brilliant people with great technical skills – people from all over the world, too. On top of that, many of us are looking for work, so you have your labor force built right in. So come, take business or CS. It’s not so much about the program, it’s about the learning experience of fast-paced classes and working while in college.

    By the way, Kettering in no way pays me to advertise for them. I am just that enthused about the co-op program here.

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  26. Try it for at least a year, you’ll regret it forever if you don’t. College was crucial for me, though the *degree* itself was not. I’ve never actually picked it up from Berkeley (even though it has Schwarzenegger’s signature on it, haha).

    When I was 16 or 17, I was running a successful web hosting company. Some people told me to not waste time with college as this was during the height of the dot-com boom and lots of people were trying to cash in on the bubble. In hind-sight I’m glad I went to college. It’s not just for a piece of paper, I feel that’s worthless these days if you are as skilled as you are. That said, NOT having any formal college education will look pretty bad to many hiring managers and that may create an uphill battle in the first decade or so of your career – even in the tech world.

    To be perfectly honest I didn’t learn a lot of career specific information in my EE & CS courses. In fact, UC Berkeley EECS explicitly teaches you to how to think and learn about the technologies and to understand them rather than just teaching you languages and patterns. What I *did* learn was how to stick through hard courses and deal with impossible schedules. I learned how to juggle an ever changing slew of courses, labs, friends, girlfriends, and projects. I learned from my own failures and the failures of others. I never learned these skills in high school or at work.

    The connections I’ve made in college have been invaluable, and will be invaluable to you as well – especially since you are such a strong networker.

    Of course, I learned a lot about dating in college. Most people do. I agree with Jolie – that will be a huge opportunity there as well. It’s a lot easier to experiment and fail and learn in a college environment than it is in an professional work environment or in silicon valley which is full of rich, successful, intelligent, ambitious men and very few women.

    Finally, and most importantly, you’ll have 1 (or more) years away from home, among people your own age. Many will have different cultures and beliefs. Many professionals in the tech world probably treat you differently, but at college people will treat you as a peer. College is a place to really open up and be comfortable in (or out of) your own skin. Take risks, try new things, see what sort of people you really want to hang out with and be around – sometimes you’ll be surprised by the answers.

    Hopefully this whole thing doesn’t come across as corny. I spent most of my time in college desperately trying to keep my head above water – I was running a web hosting company, running a Mac shareware company, interning at Apple, and trying to not fail out of UC Berkeley EECS – I still think it was WELL worth it. It still would have been worth it if I dropped out.

    You may find most of what you learn a total waste, but it’s not just about a piece of paper or the sum of what you learn in the classes.

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  27. It’s so damn important whom you’re study with.

    College time is extremely fruitful in building relations with people that don’t care about what you do (not much people actually do anything meaningful while in college), but about who you really are. Don’t loose this chance, you’ll never get it back.

    Going for college & entrepreneurship at the same time, would give you much better lesson, then choosing either of them alone. This might be challenging and you’d have to choose between both of those to give up on, but that’s what will teach you how to do the best thing later on in your life.

    I don’t you should have any doubts here. For such bright guy like you are money should be of no question at all.

    P.S. Take college, go for Stanford, graduate and rock. That should be your path. And don’t worry. Not much people really wasted this time. It was at minimum a lot of fun. πŸ˜‰

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  28. I always liked the saying – don’t find yourself, create yourself. College is an amazing experience. You have everything to gain going into college. As far as the details of college and majors – do one that you find unique to your *combined* interests and passions. I also encourage you to find one that will give you a challenge. Also, apply to many colleges that you are interested in to keep all of your options open. I really recommend getting the majors audit, sitting into classes, getting the syllabus and talking to students. I made the decision to do CS to think differently about solving problems and challenging myself. It has applied to so many areas outside of coding. I am minoring in Digital Media (there are many great programs and courses focused towards the latest web technologies, media and culture, design, etc.) that also really benefited my Google internship specifically. Next time we catchup on university – feel free to let me know if you have any more questions, happy to help. πŸ™‚

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  29. Go to college.

    As someone said above, you are already exceptional. So do the math: what’s the ratio of great companies that are built by people who didn’t go to college *at all* vs. those who went (for the whole stint or at least a year or two)?

    Now, the point about not finishing is completely valid (because the ratio of great companies started by people who dropped out in the process is markedly different).

    The best entrepreneurs combine street smarts with book smarts. You should too. What you should study in college is something that will train your mind. It’s not what you learn in terms of subject matter, it’s what you learn in terms of mental model and analytical technique that is most valuable. This is something often learned more quickly in an intense, focussed, learning environment than it is learned in the real world, which never stays on point long enough to really explore and understand technique. You learn the tools in college. You learn to apply them in the real world. In your case, you might be able to do both in parallel.

    All in all, this probably doesn’t even sum up to two cents worth.

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  30. I can assure you that college is worth it. Even if it’s for a worthless piece of paper. Also, there are many people you meet in college, that are going into the same field you are that will eventually become your contacts later in life. And if none of that is appealing, I’ll take a class with you, and we can shoot spit wads at the teacher πŸ˜›

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  31. As a recent college graduate who is, in fact, unemployed. I can tell you that you have to go to college. Why would I say that? Because it’s not just the degree that is invaluable, it is the overall experience. The people that you meet, the connections you make, the parties you attend, the clubs you join, the professors that you learn from, the independence – it is all interconnected.

    Go. Learn. Live.

    Just my two cents.

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  32. I took five years to get through college. If you’re an entrepreneur, the only degrees that you’ll be concerned about in your career are the ones hanging on the walls of your employees’ offices. I am an entrepreneur and operate a successful creative firm. I’ve never once had a job where anyone asked about my degree largely because, for the most part, I have been self employed for the last 15 years or so. If I had taken that five years, I would be five years ahead of where I am today. College is great for some people – and I recommend that you interview some of them in the future but don’t go. You’ll regret it. Like Molly, you might have a lot of free time to reflect on how great college was and ‘interconnected’ your unemployment is to the rest of your experience.

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  33. Hi

    i encountered your name on a dutch media, news and gossip site. It mentioned your entrepreneurial succes as a teen, with a coupled salary some ppl would say WTF too πŸ˜‰

    You are probably already attending college, but i would like to make this general comment to any reader that ends up surfing through this article. Any reader/entrepeneur thats doubting whether to attend college, gather degrees or work full time.

    Above posted comments generally lean to attending college. Id have to disagree. Not that i would advice anyone not to go to college, but it is definetaly not the only way to meet ppl, women, have fun and/or be the womanizer that ive been in my life. But thats what not im aiming at.

    What im aiming at is passion.

    If you feel passionate about whatever it is your doing, go for it. Whether it is getting a honours degree, building your own company, attending harvard, playing the violin, or cheerleading for a queer basketball team. Passion is the only real thriver (is that an english word πŸ˜‰ for real succes.

    None of the above comments has touched this. Keep that in mind when going through life. Whether spritually, intellectually, or socially. Passion is the real secret to happiness. People i know that look the youngest, feel the youngest but are the poorest have that one thing in common. And it has shit to do with whether they attending someting or not.

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  34. Daniel,

    To go, or not to go! I struggled with the same exact decision. As a junior at the top Information Studies school in the U.S., I was very wary to stop taking classes. But I was launching my own business, ranking in business plan competitions and growing my team. It reached a point where I had to decide: in the long-term view of my life, what is the best move? Build a startup full-time while the window of opportunity is open, or go enroll in the system again and finish up my formal education.

    The connections and real-life education I got from running a business forced me to grow up quicker than my peers and learn more than any lecture could teach. I *always* have the option of going back to school. I made the right choice (the startup route) and I’m now happily leading strategic vision for Brand-Yourself.com, and helping change the way people market themselves online.

    – Pete Kistler
    CEO, Brand-Yourself.com

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  35. Go. You will meet people in college who you would never meet otherwise. People who change your life, your thinking, your worldview.

    Go. It is the last chance you will ever have to spend time with a lot of smart people your own age. Everyone goes to the winds later.

    Go. Few ever go later. The more commitments, possessions in life the more difficult it becomes to go back. If you go later, you will already have missed out on the experience of growing with your peer group.

    Go. Let your debate be whether or not to go to grad school.

    Go, learn the art of learning, become one of the deep thinkers in your field, find your friends, find your best self.

    Go. You are so much more than what you have done so far.

    Like

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