Is a College Degree necessary for Success – No

Besides wealth, what do Bill Gates (former World’s Richest Person and Internet guru) and Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway scooter and the wheelchair that navigates stairs) have in common? Neither of them have college degrees and yet most people would consider them to be very successful.

A college education is no guarantee of success, however, an education of some sort is almost essential to having success.

In America, there are generally three ways to be “successful”: ( Success being having a lot of money or influence or both)
1. Be unusually talented; i.e. professional athlete, singer, musician, actor, author etc.
2. Acquire a certain amount of knowledge; doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.
3. Get people to talk about what you’re doing or what you did,: i.e. get in the tabloids, get photographed by the paparazzi, etc.

Points one and three are pretty straight forward. Point two on the other hand is interesting because gaining knowledge does not necessarily mean sitting in a classroom. It could mean just opening a book, observing an expert, listening to tape or CD, or good old trial and error.

I’m a pretty good cook; I’ve read several articles on the subject as well as books. I’ve asked questions of other successful chefs. I’ve never taken a single cooking class but I’m starting my own business soon. I have a very good friend who is worth over over $3 million and she has never taken a college class. Her husband ran a very lucrative trucking business for years. He now owns a company that builds custom houses and landscaping- contracts in the millions of dollars. He never graduated high school. Both of those individuals acquired their knowledge from reading books, asking questions, having a mentor or just plain trial and error.

Anybody can be successful by gaining knowledge, and by having a can-do attitude. College is just the avenue that many people choose.