The aspect of success is very subjective as the definition will vary from one person to another. You, like many others, will hear people saying that college is the only way to be successful. In today’s world, this still somewhat remains true; but, the whole dynamic of success has changed. What one person may consider as “successful” can be perceived as “failure” by another. College, itself, becomes a dynamic in itself. For the most part, many variables have to be factored in when it comes to the path of success.
Unfortunately, college itself does not immediately grant you the path to success. In today’s global economy, it seems that academia is not properly equipped to deal with the shift in job markets. Even if you go to college and get a degree, there are still plenty of factors you have to consider.
The first thing you have to factor is what you want to do as a career. Unfortunately, not all careers are created equal. Certain careers do not pay as well despite how much effort, discipline, time, money, and commitment you put forth. You could get a bachelor’s in theatrical arts but not find success in that field. At the same time, there are plenty of people that have found success without having gone to or completed college. But, that itself requires much research, planning, and creativity.
The second thing you have to factor is the marketability of the degree you are pursuing. While colleges offer many different majors, only a handful will be marketable. The more marketable your degree is, the higher the chances are of you being able to land a job. The less marketable your degree is, the lower the chances are of you being able to land a job. When deciding what degree program you pursue, you have to employ a lot of critical thinking and game theory. Think about how you think the chosen degree will help you in the future. In short, you have to carefully think before even deciding what degree you truly want to get. Just getting a bachelor’s degree does not necessarily mean you can get a career in your major. There are professions which require you to further your education with graduate and post-graduate programs which are competitive to get into.
The third thing you have to factor is the job market. This is one dynamic that nobody really has control over. If you have paid attention to the arguments made by the various Occupy Wall Street (OWS) groups across the nation, you would hear stories about how they went to college, got their degrees, but not be able to find a job. Those that have found jobs would eventually lose them through no fault of their own. Keep in mind that not everybody will agree with what members of OWS have to say. Also, you have to think about your current location and the demand for jobs that are in your expertise. You may have to move to where those jobs are.
The fourth thing you have to factor is the competition. It is a very competitive world. Unfortunately, competition tends to bring out the worst in people. Prime examples would be the 2008 Democratic primary contest and the current 2012 Republican primary contest for those that keep up with the news let alone politics. For the desired job position, you will be going up against many other people. You are highly likely going to get passed over for another candidate that has more or specific qualifications you do not have.
The fifth thing you have to factor is the college you get accepted to. The cold reality is that the college you choose to go to, provided you are accepted, plays a role in your success. When applying for jobs, should there be competition, employers will look at your education background. You could get passed over for a candidate that went to a better college or a college that had a better program.
The sixth thing you have to factor is how well you educate yourself in the desired major. It is not uncommon for people to switch between majors. That does play a factor in your future success.
With everything considered, there is no definitive answer. Everything is subjective when it comes to education and success. Of course you have to be educated to be successful. However, being educated does not necessarily mean you have to go to college.
At the same time, you do need a college degree to get into various fields such as science, medicine, finance, and so forth. It all depends on what you really want to do. On the other hand, you could choose to go into film as there are plenty of successful filmmakers that never went to or finished film school.