To Dropout or To Not Dropout

A guy who is fed up with the college education system and has this really original and genius idea decides to dropout of college and implement that original and genius idea. Years later he has proved everyone wrong and is the Founder of some big company whose products and services almost everyone around the globe uses. It all just sounds so legendary and perfect, right? It is a movie script waiting to happen for which Leonardo DiCaprio will win another Oscar. But maybe that’s not how it works in the real world. Atleast not for everyone.

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and went on to become legends in the fields of technology. So dropping out might be some sort of secret ingredient, right? Not really. Most entrepreneurs are actually college graduates. As of October 2017, only 25 of the The Forbes 400 did not have a college degree. That’s a pretty low number I’d say. There are certain reasons for that. College helps you to form connections, learn new things, develop leadership characteristics and gain experience. All of this can be done by yourself but that would be pretty tough. In college, you are surrounded by smart and like-minded people who can contribute to collaborate with your idea. For those who are afraid to explore or haven’t had formal education, college is a boon.

Dropping out can be pretty risky- abandoning the safety net provided by college. It should be a highly calculated decision. We easily throw around names like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates- successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of college but ignore the ones who failed after dropping out. This makes us see only the half-truth and can be dangerous. We fail to see the rest of the 375 out of the 400 entrepreneurs who worked hard for their college degree and their company’s success. It sounds much more harder but is the choice of the majority who succeeded.

Reality check:

One study reported in The Conversation found that among Forbes billionaires, 44.8 percent went to and completed a program from an elite school. Another 44.3 percent had a college education somewhere else and 10.9 percent either had no college education or there was no data to report.

So dropout billionaires aren’t that common. Neither are dropout entrepreneurs. The truth is just that the glory of few entrepreneur dropouts is highlighted. Honestly, their stories are pretty inspiring and impressive. There is no denying that. But there are many other stories out there like those of Chad Hurley, Fred Smith and Jeff Bezos that should be looked at.