HigherEdMorning.comHe's Turning Dropping Out Of College Into A Career

He’s Turning Dropping Out Of College Into A Career

June 21, 2011 by Geneva Reid
Posted in: Special Report


Does a college degree guarantee success? One former student is betting his own career that it doesn’t. Ever heard of the UnCollege movement?

Well, you soon will if Dale Stephens has anything to say about it.

The 19-year-old is devoting his time to gaining support for the idea that college just isn’t worth it. According to his website, here’s why Stephens thinks others should join the UnCollege movement:

  • College lacks academic rigor
  • 22% of college grads under 25 have jobs that don’t require a degree
  • A college degree doesn’t equal success
  • Self-directed learners tend to outperform traditional students

Stephens is also forming a business called RadMatter, which will help people looking for jobs market themselves.

You might be wondering how Stephens is able to finance these ambitious efforts.

He recently received a $100,000 fellowship  from the Thiel Foundation. The fellowship is for students under the age of 20, who agree to leave college and follow an entrepreneurial path instead.

If the name Thiel rings a bell, you might remember Peter Thiel. He’s the guy who invested in Facebook in its early days — and he also went on to found PayPal.

Not so coincidentally, Facebook’s founder is Mark Zuckerberg, who chose to drop out of college and launch the social networking site that’s made him a billionaire.

Stephens was at one time a student at Hendrix College in Arkansas. He became disenchanted and decided the School of Experience was the way to go.

The question Stephens poses isn’t a new one: Is it necessary to have a college degree in order to have a successful career?

But what Stephens is adding to that question is: Is it necessary for most people?

College Board stats from last year showed college grads earn 65% more than those holding only a high school degree.

Still, when Mark Zuckerberg talks, people listen. Maybe the same will be true of Stephens as well.

Do you think college is still the best bet for most young people? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Bill

    I agree with the idea that college is not a garentee of sucess. Many of the students I have dealt with in past 20 years are either attending college in order to swindle the taxpayers money or are their expecting someone to pour the knowledge into their head and then give them a job because they have a right to a job.


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