College? How old fashioned!

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

Once in a while I write about something that may strike a nerve with some.  If I am wrong, tell me in the comments. 

The world has changed so much and the pace of change is getting faster.  Things that were staples of life and that many made their living from, are gone, replaced by what technology has enabled.  You know like CD’s, cameras, stores, malls, mail, much commercial real estate, gas powered cars – all gone, or on their way out.

Like it or not, it’s happening.

COVID 19 has colleges giving students classes online.  My youngest daughter, the first person in my family to ever go to college, sits in her dorm room and takes one or maybe two classes a day – listening to someone talk on a screen for an hour with no ability to ask any questions.  Most of the day she is free. She will graduate this year, $180,000 having been spent on her education over four years.  I hope she can get a good job.

My other two children (two and four years older) did not go to college and are waaaaay ahead of the average kid their age from LEARNING on their own while DOING THINGS and TRYING STUFF.  They spent little on their education, (books, online learning, what they WANT to learn).  No debt.

Haven’t they proven that with the right books and an internet connection you can learn anything?  Aren’t they the tools they use to teach you in college anyway?  Do you need to go to college for advanced learning?

For some things like being a doctor, or attorney you do.  And, college can be a wonderful social experience for some, and a springboard for some students eager to soak up everything there is to offer at such an institution.

But the narrative about college as the path to success is folly.  What a relief for low-income parents who worry about how they will send their kids to college.

The availability of college loans is only welfare for colleges who raise their prices (because the students have money to spend now and they can raise their prices) and build fancy buildings (that we now know we don’t really need for learning most things).

Never let schooling get in the way of your education.

(Sorry everyone!  I don’t mean to offend anyone.  The world is changing…)

Fire away with the orange comment button!


Bob ligmanowski

Agreed 100% I’ve always felt this way

Jeff Stewart

great comment on society today, I was extremely proud when my son decided to go into HVAC, He is in a 2 yr tech program, but it is still hands on. Jeff.

Timothy Rutkoski

spot on – i believe if vocational education combined with cooperate internships and apprenticeships for the majority of professions other than doctors/lawyers/accounts, etc. This is reality – college is an “experience” but for the most part its a money pit… for those who want to succeed in life- they will if they want to and can do so in many different ways.

Lee Ramey

Never let schooling get in the way of your education. Love it!👍🏼
I did not have the opportunity to go to college, but once I
Figured out what I wanted to do In life, I could be specific in what I needed to learn to get better in my chosen profession. at one time I had to take challenge exams equal to a Associates degree before I could continue with some career tracks. I was able to do this with wife and kid (s). It is doable. I did mine before the internet. Now there is no excuse, IF you have the drive and self control. ~ #Mildude

Anthony Minchella

100% agree. I went to college, it was almost 100% a social experience I somewhat squandered the academic, which is there for the right people but not all. Then law school I crushed because I had a passion and still do for being a lawyer. But i pressured none of my sons to go to college. In fact I made it a point to say I only want you to be happy and find something you love to do and do your best at it. College is overrated to the extent it is sold to everyone as the only way to go.


Well said, I agree with everything except, “The availability of college loans is only welfare for colleges”, maybe I am misunderstanding your point here, but college loans need to be paid back and if one goes to college they need to actually work to excell in ones chosen course of study. Welfare on the other hand…. no work required and does not have to be paid back.

Robert Donato

I couldn’t agree more with what you stated about college. I have many friends who put their kids through college who once graduated now have huge debt.

Barry Kindt

Apprenticeship Programs RULE!

Burr Jennings

Agreed. Check out Ex-U.S. Secretary of Education William J Bennet’s 2013 book “Is College Wort It” for a more technical understanding of precisely what Larry is talking about. Having recently graduated 4 children from Ivy League to State University, I can say with no reservation that the college “value received” is at an all-time low. Be prepared for your kids to be immersed/indoctrinated in the politically correct far-left agenda as well. Very sad in my opinion

Burr Jennings

If you do choose college, never EVER pay big money for an undergraduate degree. Figure out how to get a degree for less than $10k/year (yes, it can be done). Once junior has knocked the skin off the ball with great grades and accomplishments, THEN consider spending the daddy war-bucks for a masters degree.

Lon Epstein

Would totally agree. Still paying back student loans and I’m 32. I wish I knew then what I know now; how much I was actually going to have to pay back, the interest rates, etc…these companies don’t care about you at all.

Most colleges are completely over priced and the same education can be received for much less somewhere else. I do think that you should get some college or at least education in personal finance. That’s by far the most important thing. How to manage your own money. No one ever taught me that or how important it would be. They should have those classes in high school.

This topic really kills me.

Michael Stedry

So true and right what you said. I have been thinking this for years. Just didn’t want to believe it myself. Thank you for sharing this.

David Cook

Totally agree. Anything that you learn in college you can probably learn in the first few months of training at most jobs. Seems like a huge investment with little return. Most of my family wants my three boys to go to college, I am not sold. Learning out in the field and trial and error is how you remember things not by boring lectures and books. For me, the best way to learn is read something that is in line with your goals and implement in the real world ASAP. I’m sure college is beneficial in a lot of ways but is it really worth the financial burden?

Darren Evanoff

Agree 100%. I have seen this first hand with myself and others that I work with. We all chose to go through a 4 year apprenticeship learning a trade, come out debt free, and ahead of allot of other people our age who went to college and cant find a good paying job while trying to pay off their loans.

Linda Cote

Spot on! Not everyone is cut out for college! I also did not go to college and today am a VP of a Regional Bank doing what I love. So many employers require that college degree, in order to interview someone, and in the process are losing out on those with a wealth of “life experience”.


Well said!
I went to college and don’t regret my decision , however I do believe I could have accomplished the same success in life if I went straight to work. The one thing that I would not have is the friendships that span 40 years and are strong to this day.

Allen Nolt

I totally agree. All you said about being farther ahead by learning and doing stuff in the school of life rather in college I’ve found to be true for me. Especially financially! Thanks for posting this!

Jeff Traynor

I don’t think you will receive much opposition on this subject in this publication. I follow think daily mostly for the pure common sense rationality. Common sense is no where to be found in the colleges in these times (so I have heard from friends who have kids in 4 year colleges)

pete kellar


William Lindberg

Well said. Heck, I graduated high school 1975. Even back then there was a question on “return in investment” of going to college vs not. In a way, remote learning has reinforced the ability to learn ohtside a classroom…something that will serve one well for the balance of their lives.

Ed Clarke

I agree 100%….

Lori Ajekigbe

I totally agree! Not everyone needs college, but colleges need everyone! However, everyone needs to educate and be a life long learner.

Tom Horn

Well Said !!!! Larry you inspire me as well as EDUCATE Me !!!! with Every post of yours . Keep BEING Real as well as Honest. !!!!


Before coming to work at TBF of WNY I had worked in the Residence Halls at 3 different colleges for a total of almost 10 years.
I have to say that there are many people who are pushed into college as the next step after high school without people really looking at if it would be a good fit for them as a next step in life. Some are not ready for college academically or emotionally, some are not ready for the workload that college will bring, and many are entering college for a major that doesn’t need formal training (as you pointed out) and which going to college for will leave them heavily in debt in the future. The folly comes that many people don’t know what to do so they jump into college because all that they know is to go to school, and many high schools push their students to go to college instead of exploring other (and better) options for them.


Larry, you have finally lost it all together…..not!
I sent my 17 year old daughter off to collage this year knowing that their were better learning options. Collage from the old perspective as the key to success is obsolete. I won’t remake all of your points except to agree with them. I can’t imagine the student who graduates with 100-200k in debt, 90% of whom will end up with 50-75k jobs at best. How does that math work from a business/accounting point of view.
My 200K (after the 80k scholarship:) will buy my daughter 4 years worth of growing up on her own, friendships that will last her lifetime. She will learn (mostly from experiences) and mature in a safe environment.
On second thought maybe I should have purchased that 8 renter house on campus and sent her down there to manage it and work at the pizza place.

Lary Pincince

Thanks, Larry, how many institutes of higher education, that have “Business Schools”‘ cannot operate within budget and constantly ask for more $ from the students and taxpayers…..

john M Mullen

I have been thinking that and living that out I have done very well with high school and trade school education nothing like learning on the job just be the best at what ever you do and you will do very well.

steve ward

I agree 100%, what is learned in the working world is much often used than what is learned in a classroom.

Lisa Pantaleo

I spent every dime I made for four years on tuition to send our son to college to give him the best chance at a better start at life than we did. There’s no way he would have the career he has if it wasn’t for the commitment we made to make sure he had every opportunity to thrive in the business world.

Samantha Wald

100%! I think America and the world are seeing that being on a college campus is not the end all be all. My hope is that trade schools will see an increase in enrollment and that all the students that are taking college classes and having jobs will realize that you will get paid for hands on learning jobs while in trade school. (I may be incorrect with that statement, but I believe that most apprenticeships the jobs are paying and then they go to school after work hours.) I hope more light is also shed on community colleges that offer the same if not better level of academics at the 4 year universities.

mike miller

I could not agree more. I spent 5-years in college to become a teacher after changing my major a couple of times, only to get into the HVAC field in the summer because I couldn’t raise a family on a teachers salary. After only a short time in the field I became a comfort consultant and by the year 2000 I was selling nearly $2 million every year in residential replacements….life was good. Now I manage a HVAC operation and every chance I get, speaking at career days, etc., I talk about what you just stated in this article. By the way, I particularly took interest in your recent article “Would you like to work on my team”. Make it a GREAT day!

Bill Olsen

Amen! My grandson graduated from high school this year and is not attending college. He is bright and hard working and I advised him to always keep his mind open to new adventures. I am also trying to educate him on investing and the advantages of starting to build a portfolio.

Dustin Gibson

Do not ever apologize for not going to college and yet you are successful!
I was homeschooled from the 5th grade on, took some correspondence college (before internet learning was available), but quit to start working. I didn’t consider that a smart move at first. Now however, financially I am at the same level as several of my peers who spent years in collage. What experience I have in my career, I do not believe would have been possible with out “hands on” training that I received by doing the work. What I truly value though is my relationships with friends and especially family. The ability to attain and maintain those relationships does not require a degree.
I will add rocket scientists to those who should get a college education! Ha
If you want to get beyond you have to go beyond!

Hunter Shaw

Dead on. Also today the University experience can do real damage.

Donna Janesky

Unfortunately, many employers require a college degree as a requirement for employment. They don’t care what field it is in- you just have to have it. I do believe that higher education helps one develop critical thinking skills, but one can develop this on your own if you are so inclined to take advantage of reading and learning in ways other than formal education.

Justin Laraia

I have always had this view on collage, I went to a tech high school back in the day and they didn’t really push collage back then. I did take a few community collage courses but nothing really formal. One course I ended up taking was “Entrepreneurial Studies” it was a decent class. However I always kind of thought it ironic that they had a class you pay for to be an entrepreneur. I have learned much more running my own businesses for the last 18 years there is no substitute for learning by doing in my opinion.

Mark Orecchio

I totally agree! I won’t be pushing my three to go to college.

Scott Haring

Larry, encourage that young lady to subscribe to “Think Daily,” an inspirational blog which reinforces personal action: Be, Do, Go!
I agree with your post. Collegians and parents need to be reminded that having a degree entitles you to nothing. Careers are earned.


My perspective exactly. Not that Colleg in itself is bad it just has little or no ROI for most students.


I completely agree. I owned my first home before my friends had finished college. One of my kids went to an elite college and came home an in-debt, entitled Marxist with a communications degree.

Robert Brown

I did go to college and earned 2 degrees. That was many years ago. I also have a brother who is a retired professor at a university. Sometimes I discount my experience…. too much. I think you are more correct than not. For technical subjects college is a must… but education today is still living in the age of the first industrial revolution. wrote learning, assembly lines etc. it is a field ripe for disruption with many better models for learning that are far more productive that work with the students interests, motivations, abilities and individual progress.
The most important thing I got from school was not what to think… but how to think… learning how to apply the scientific process, how to utilize evidence based reasoning, how to think creatively, etc. There are many positives to colleges… but watch and see… it will soon be disrupted by better models.


I skipped college because I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living, and I didn’t want to spend the money without a specific direction in mind. By the time most people my age were graduating, I had worked at over 30 different jobs, and had a much better idea of what I wanted to do for a living, and what I liked and didn’t like about the employers I had worked for. Turns out, I didn’t want to work for anyone and I may have been 4 years behind on figuring that out if I had gone.

Gray Wilson

With the move to online learning sparked by the pandemic I totally agree with you that students are getting a cut rate product for their hard earned debt. The true education that should come out of College is not available on line. You learn to work on projects together managing different schedules, different skills and create leadership skills to get through the process. As well, College teaches you to manage multiple projects within a time crunch that forces you to prioritize what is more important and will yield the best over all results. Learning to work well with others also comes with the interaction and you do not get that from on line. College can be great to build the abilities but on line College is not worth the price.

Chris Cooper

Mike Rowe agrees with you!

Wesley martin

I agree with all of this. Why can’t we teach kids what they are gifted in early on and save them a lot of money and waisted time playing drinking games. I was the first in my family to get a degree “I learned more on my first job in one month than I did in the 5 years it took me to get that piece of paper of which I have subsequently lost the last time I moved ha”

Lawrence Bergen

Its a sheep or shepherd statement really. You sir are a shepherd. Having met and worked for you. I believe someone who sees the bigger picture, makes a plan and takes actions to protect themselves and their growing flock, does not necessarily need college. I have two enrolled now and its working for one of them. Unfortunately not everyone has the will (its not about ability or opportunity) to be a leader in their own life much less lead others. College became just another business a few decades ago. The way we are marketed to and taught is to be sheep, followers…the world is changing. Thank you for promoting leadership by being a leader. Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

Tim Kauffman

I tell my teenage boys that whatever it is that you decide to do in life, always do it to the absolute best of your ability. Strive to be the best at what you do and you will succeed. It doesn’t matter if you choose to be an electrician, a plumber, an auto mechanic or a construction worker. Be the best at what you do, people will notice and you’ll have more work than you know what to do with. Take care of your customers and they in turn will take care of you. Always do what’s right, even when nobody is watching.
Larry, if you would have wrote this ten years ago I would have disagreed with you but I’ve learned a lot since then and now agree with you 100%.

if this subject would have came up 5 years ago I would have thought you were crazy but my mind completely agree with you. I tell my teenage

Nikki Rae Toler

Back in the Philippines where I am originally from, people who can’t afford to go to college either work after finishing high school or apply for scholarship. We don’t have student loan program there. If you are poor, after finishing high school, that is it. Go and get a job that will bring food on your table.
In my situation, I grew up not having parents. I have experienced starving all the time at an early young age. I thought my life would be miserable and useless, added with belittling from my relatives and said that I would never succeed in life.
Thankfully, a Christian Institution from Norway came to the Philippines searching for some poor youth who would like to go to college. I applied and passed but the budget for scholarship was not enough for me to get the course I wanted so I chose the course that did not have high tuition, Education. I graduated with Honors, had experience teaching for 3 years and had an opportunity to work abroad as a teacher. But I felt like that was not really for me although I love kids. I prayed to God to direct me to the right path that would make me feel fulfilled, successful and accomplished. God has His own reasons for everything beyond our control. Now, I am happily married and working that to me is the best company for me to work with because of I have a very nice boss who always has words of wisdom to share and who is willing to help and give you the opportunities to grow, Jim Mclaughlin. I see myself years from now learning, growing, and succeeding more in this company.
To me, the best thing to remember is put God first in everything and He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Lynette-Marie Lacerda

Agreed. College is not for everyone and it certainly is a waste of money if the student does not want to be there. It is awful they don’t have an avenue for your daughter to ask questions during her online learning experience.
My college was a family farm of hard work, take pride in all you do and do what you say you’re going to do. I do college classes as needed to learn Spanish, hobbies and staying on the forefront of the computer skills required for my profession. Before the pandemic I joined a vocational theology school and I can’t get enough of those classes. By the way, we get to ask questions to the professor.
Mike Lowe of ‘Dirty Jobs’ is correct in saying we have to make work cool again. As you know there is a shortage of tradesmen since there are SOME young adults that simply don’t want to get their hands dirty. I didn’t understand the values my parents were teaching me at the time, however, when people say I am lucky in my profession, I respond with NO, I never gave up and worked hard for my accomplishments.
Drive fast and take chances…

Don Marshall

Your right about the pace of change, but compared to China we are still in slow motion. College is not for everyone, but for late bloomers it second chance to get formal education. For entrepreneurs maybe not necessary, but still helps with analytical and research skills. Community colleges are less expensive and most can transfer to other more prestige’s colleges. No one questions where you start its where you finish that’s important.

Russ G

I agree, I started thinking I needed an engineering degree to earn a decent living. I got into sales and made more without spending a ton of dough.

Craig Canella

You made my day with that diagnosis.
We meet and work with the high school juniors in a local community college program in NC inviting them to join in our ride along program in the summer and then take online tech school mixed in with their senior year classrs at high school.
It has been awesome so far with multiple takers, and some that became employees.
I have one son in the business that went to a 4 yr institution. He and his younger brother who did not work together and are taking on line classes to try to pass the NC state H3 examination.
In another view, my youngest brother is a 4 yr grad in Mechanical Engineering. I never made it past 1 yr of a 4 yr college but did get an diploma at a tech school for electronics. The two of us made a great team over the years ( 30) and I believe we would not have been able to grow with plan and stability without his ” project” background.
I think up to the early to mid 80s that the hands on education that 4 yr institutions had got us to where we are now in this nation. Along with the back breaking labor of those that did not go to college.
I do not know what lies ahead for my grandchildren, but my sons will be fine. Their paths mimic mine and my younger brother. D personality and C personality.
Thank you for all you do. Your daily thoughts are distributed thru our management team by email.

Paul J. Ney

Larry, you are soooo right. College is not fit everyone. I hate to say this but feel at times colleges are big businesses. Like you said if becoming a doctor or lawyer certainly a college experience is warranted. I believe we need just as many good tradesmen learning good trades. It’s a shame to see these kids graduating with huge debts to only get low paying jobs out of college holding degrees. Our world is changing and Covid certainly is showing us all what can be done being connected. Great piece you wrote Larry

Paul J. Ney

Larry, you are soooo right. College is not for everyone. I hate to say this but feel at times colleges are big businesses. Like you said if becoming a doctor or lawyer certainly a college experience is warranted. I believe we need just as many good tradesmen learning good trades. It’s a shame to see these kids graduating with huge debts to only get low paying jobs out of college holding degrees. Our world is changing and Covid certainly is showing us all what can be done being connected at home. Great piece you wrote Larry

Jerry Sirois

And this is the argument I have with my spouse. I’m sure it is other parents as well. She went to university I did not. We need more kids in the trades. Some careers pay more by not going to college. College or universities are not the definitive answer for a great career.

Willis Ponds

Larry, you are absolutely right. Thanks for speaking up and speaking the truth! College in many ways is dangerous for students because it teachings what to think instead of how to think. What they teach is often contrary to reality and sets people up for failure in real life.

Jim (Cabe) Burlison

100% agree ~ no formal college for me. I’ve been attending the “college of life” since the age of 18, taking quizes and being tested very day. So far…so good. Hopefully one day I’ll graduate 🙂

Darren kornowske

I agree I went to college and don’t work in my field. I encouraged our son and daughter to work at least 5 years before deciding on a college and both are managers one at team mobile one at sherwin williams and there only in there mid 20ies.

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