To continue progressing as a society, we need to continuously question and re-evaluate widely held assumptions. One such assumption that is due for re-evaluation is this: college is the best route to success. This assumption is so widely held that the masses don’t give it a second thought. Indeed, it has become a sacred cow. Let’s take a candid look at the current state of affairs regarding higher education and discuss a viable alternative.
Before continuing, I want to address those of you that are already in defense mode. Remember, any true academic and deep thinker questions their assumptions; even those they hold most deeply. If that is you, let’s continue.
Higher Education’s Report Card
Is college really the ticket to success that it used to be? Times have changed. What used to be true may no longer be. I’m not suggesting that college isn’t right for some people. I have a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University (formerly GMI-EMI). It is a very useful degree from a great university. I’m proud of it. However, statistics show that for many, it may not be worth the investment of time and money when compared to certain alternatives.
So how does the report card look for higher education?
Let’s first discuss the investment students are choosing to make. The majority of high school graduates are making the choice to pursue a higher education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 over 60% of high school graduates enrolled in a college or university. Those that choose to go to college for a 4-year program are signing up to spend $22,092 per year ($32,617 for a private university) on average.
The time commitment to get a 4-year degree is substantial. Each school and program is different, but at Kettering you can expect a time commitment equal to or more than a full-time job. To graduate with a 4-year degree at Kettering you’re required to complete 160 credit hours. Each class is four credit hours. For each four credit class you’re looking at four hours of class per week, not including lab time. To finish a degree at Kettering in four years, a student has to take 20 credit hours per semester. In other words, class time alone is 20-25 hours per week. On top of that you have to include homework and study time. I’m sure there are wide variations with other programs at different universities, but you get my point: getting a 4-year degree takes a lot of time.
What are the results?
First off, upon graduation, these students are burdened with, on average, over $26,000 of student loan debt. To make it worse, in 2011, 53% of bachelor degree holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed! The starting wage for men and women that graduated in 2011 was $21.68 and $18.80 respectively. Overall, the median income for those with a 4-year degree is $43,143.
So is spending 4 years and $88,000 while going into debt $26,000 worth the results of working 40+ hours a week for someone else for 45-50 years for a median income of $43,143? For some, yes. However, I don’t believe college is nearly as good of a plan as society portrays. Thankfully, there are many alternatives. I want to offer you one that I know well.
An Alternative 4-year plan
Before I dive into the detail of the alternative, it’s important to highlight a couple of thoughts.
- Judge the alternative with the same filter you use to judge college. In other words, look at the results based on those who completed the program, not those who are in process or dropped out.
- Like getting a 4-year degree, results with the alternative will take consistent effort, over time, with an investment of money. Like college, many will not finish for a myriad of reasons/excuses. The alternative is not easy, but it is worth it.
- The workload and time frame for the alternative can vary widely, as can attaining a 4-year degree. For sake of a comparison, the alternative is laid out as closely to a typical 4-year program as possible.
- The analogy between the alternative and college is not perfect.
The alternative is LIFE Leadership. LIFE offers both a valuable leadership education and viable career path. For purposes of this comparison, I won’t go into the “majors” LIFE offers. I want to discuss LIFE as a career path.
A 4-year plan with LIFE:
Before beginning on the path LIFE offers, there are some pre-requisites you must have:
- A Big Dream. LIFE is not easy (the company or real life). To make it through the program, you’re going to need a big dream to motivate you when the path gets rough.
- Integrity. Liars and charlatans will not succeed.
- Teachability. There’s no point in enrolling with LIFE if you already think you know everything.
LIFE’s learning structure is incredibly simple. It revolves around three main parts: reading, listening and associating.
A “full-time” student takes advantage of all three parts by being on all of the subscriptions LIFE offers along with LIFE Training. All together, on a monthly basis, a “full-time” LIFE student receives 19 audio CDs, unlimited access to LIFE Library (an extensive suite of personal and leadership development videos and audios), three books, and five events (four Open Meetings and one LIFE Live monthly seminar). Tri-yearly a successful student will attend LIFE’s Major Leadership Convention. The total cost of “tuition” for a year: $3,651. That’s less than one class cost me at Kettering! These are the basics in LIFE Leadership and are analogous to text books, online lectures, and class time.
A LIFE student that’s set up for success follows the following daily, weekly, and monthly recommendations:
- Read a minimum of 15 minutes per day. 1 hour per day recommended.
- Listen to a minimum of 3 audios per day. 4 or more recommended.
- Attend a local LIFE open meeting (typically on Tuesday evenings).
- Attend a local LIFE Live Seminar (typically on a Saturday evening).
Any good college or university will recommend participation in an internship or co-op program so that the student can apply the knowledge learned in the classroom. LIFE’s “internship” runs simultaneously with the learning curriculum so that the knowledge can go from theory to application as soon as possible. A successful mentor is always available to help the student course correct and move forward. The best part about the “internship”: it’s paid!
The goal of LIFE’s “internship” is to teach students how to build communities of people that are inspired to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through learning and applying life changing information in the areas of faith, family, finances, fitness, freedom, friendship, following, and fun. Talk about a worthy endeavor! The workload recommended for the “internship” is to simply share LIFE Leadership with 15 people on a monthly basis.
Here’s an example 4-year plan for those willing to follow the above recommended learning and activity. Since I’m going to discuss income, please reference the Income Disclosure Statement and LIFE Compensation Plan. It’s important to note that the incomes that are discussed below are achieved with a workload far less than a normal 40 hour work week. In fact, many achieve them while working at a job full time. Unlike college, there is no need to go into debt and make a major lifestyle change to pursue our program “full-time.”
The focus for a freshman in LIFE is twofold: to grow personally by listening and applying the information provided through LIFE Leadership and to learn the basics of building a LIFE community (8-step pattern, depth, Power Player).
A satisfactory passing grade is Student 6000. A Student 6000 makes an average of $1093 per month. As a reward for a job well done, the student will receive a free trip.
The focus remains the same for a sophomore with the addition of game planning, conflict resolution, and basic coaching.
A satisfactory passing grade is Leader. A Leader makes an average of $3,600 per month or $43,200 per year. That’s more the median income for those that hold a 4-year degree!
The focus for a junior adds orchestration and basic mentoring.
A satisfactory passing grade for a junior is Coordinator. A Coordinator gets paid an average of $5,060 per month. At this point you’re passing up many entry-level professional level incomes.
A senior’s focus shifts to mentorship and the development of other leaders, while still performing the skills learned in previous years.
A satisfactory passing grade to graduate LIFE’s 4-year program is Senior Coordinator. A Senior Coordinator makes an average of $15,177 per month or $182,124 per year! I challenge anyone to find many folks that graduate a 4-year college and walk into a job with that kind income.
A student can choose to go on to “grad school” to become a Life Coach and earn far more.
At this point it’s clear that there is a viable alternative to the traditional 4-year college plan. The results couldn’t be any more distinct. The traditional path is incredibly expensive, typically requires going into debt and at the end only pays a mediocre wage. Enrolling in and sticking to the 4-year plan I outlined with LIFE offers someone a true leadership education for a fraction of the cost of college with the added benefit of a career path that provides a substantial passive, residual income.
Times have changed. LIFE takes advantage of the change. Will you take advantage of the opportunity offered through LIFE?