A college classroom in the background. In the front, a student is raising his graduation hat and diploma behind a ripped piece of paper. Image created using Canva Pro.

Is college still necessary for success in the modern world? Here is a look at the contemporary college scam.

Exposing The College Scam

High School

During high school, you may encounter various individuals and entities, such as your career counselor, classmates, and representatives from different universities, who may encourage you to pursue higher education.

However, this can lead to feeling the pressure of following the crowd, which is the first step towards the college scam.

For many years, our society has propagated that attending college is the best and only way to achieve success, which can add to the pressure you may feel. Consequently, you may feel obligated to take out student loans to obtain a degree, even though the diploma may not be as valuable as you initially believed.

Student Loans

Getting you to take out loans is the second step of the college scam.

According to the National Credit Union Association, “43.6 million individuals held a combined federal student loan debt of $1.64 trillion; an average of approximately $38,000 per borrower.” This means that before many people even start making money, they are already in debt due to accruing student loans. Furthermore, graduating from college does not guarantee that you will land a good-paying job. Some graduates may earn less than $30,000 annually, making paying off their student debt even more challenging.

Debt is a common topic in personal finance, and accumulating it is not a sound financial decision. Many young people are going into debt to pursue a college degree, which may not necessarily lead to job opportunities or the development of marketable skills.

Unfortunately, society has normalized the idea of going into debt, especially among young people with little to no knowledge about personal finance. This sets them up for financial struggles from the start, even though it is seen as the norm.


The third part of the college scam wastes the critical years of development listening to professors.

You end up spending your twenties in the higher education system. Instead of learning valuable life skills, you read outdated books and learn old programs to pass tests. Once you graduate, you may realize that nothing in those books helped you. You then may realize that you wasted four years or more of your life in college and have nothing to show for it.

I spent nearly a decade of my twenties in higher education rather than making money. I attended college, community college, and graduate school. Still, I never did anything professionally with what I studied in the higher education system.

During your twenties, it is best to focus on learning life skills and gaining experience to set you apart. While you are learning skills, discover what you obsess over. Then, find a way to make money from what you love to do. Otherwise, you will become miserable.

However, people have been told that college leads to success, even though colleges teach no critical life or career skills. Many people waste the vital years of their lives that they should spend setting themselves up for professional success listening to professors and learning no marketable skills.

Before you know it, your twenties are gone. You may not have a career. You end up working a dead-end job. You wonder where all your time went and what to do now to escape working jobs that will never pay your ever-increasing adult bills, from health insurance to medical problems.

Student Lifestyle

The fourth part of the college scam is learning bad lifestyle habits.

It is common for students to develop bad habits during college. Many prioritize enjoying the present rather than planning for their future. Some students may believe that everything will fall into place after graduation. They want to enjoy their college years before they start working an actual job.

Partying is a norm in most colleges, even private and Christian institutions. While Christian schools may not be known as party schools, the party culture is present on their campuses.

Young adults in college are often encouraged to date and hook up. Instead of waiting to figure out their lives, many live in the moment and hook up with someone they find attractive. There may also be rumors about classmates dating each other.

Drug use is also common on college campuses. It can range from casual substances such as alcohol and marijuana to harder drugs. The prevalence of drug use often depends on the college and the people students choose to associate with.

No Longer A Guarantee Of Success

The final step of the college scam is realizing that your degree does not help you to start a career. You then end up stuck in a dead-end job paying off your student debt for your worthless degree.

Many people believe that obtaining a college degree is no longer a guarantee of success because the value of a college degree has decreased due to inflation. There is degree inflation because more people have obtained degrees today. Hence, college degrees are no longer considered unique or valuable. You now have to pursue a graduate degree or a doctoral program to set yourself apart. Alternatively, you can gain skills while still in school by working part-time or full-time.


It is excellent news that you can skip college as more people become aware of its challenges. Fortunately, there are alternative paths you can take to achieve your career goals.

The first option is self-learning. You can take digital courses, read books and blog articles, and watch videos on topics and skills you want to learn. Once you acquire a new skill, you could start a side hustle to turn it into a business.

My best decision was to start my website in college. I learned much from having my website and working hard to grow it into an online business. Owning an online business also allows me to live in another state or country.

You could learn how to start your own website, YouTube channel, or TikTok channel. Then, you can integrate them to build your own business and brand.

The second option is to learn a trade. A significant advantage of learning a trade is that trade schools are less expensive than a four-year college. Upon completing your training, you can begin working once you find someone to hire you. Once you understand a particular trade, you can start your own business. Some trades include plumbing, carpentry, mechanics, dental hygiene, painting, masonry, roofing, construction, HVAC mechanics, and welding.

The third option is to start working right away. Identify what you enjoy doing and then learn the necessary skills to be certified. You could apply for an entry-level job or work as a freelancer with basic tech skills or other skills you possess. The advantage of this option is that you can start making money while gaining work experience in your twenties.


College is a scam. College markets itself as securing a better future for you but can also lead to a lot of debt. Nowadays, due to degree inflation, college degrees are less valuable than they used to be, making them less effective in landing a good job. Fortunately, other options, such as learning a trade or pursuing self-education, are available.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Secure Single. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not investment, financial, or legal advice. Consult with a financial or legal professional before making investment or legal decisions. James Bollen is the author of Thriving Solo: How to Flourish and Live Your Perfect Life (Without A Soulmate). It is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.
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James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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