Can You Learn Without College? (Read This First!)

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Many high school graduates face a dilemma: is it necessary that they go to college to continue their education? 

If you are one of them, let us help you find what you are looking for.

Colleges and Universities are great places to get an education and effectively learn. Still, is it necessary to go to college to learn? 

Let’s find out…

Here’s Why You Can Learn Without Going to College:

The truth is, you don’t need college to learn. Information is everywhere. If your goal is to learn, educational websites and videos are all over the internet, making it possible to learn beyond the confines of schools and colleges. 

There are also numerous work programs that include training or will sponsor you to obtain training from another organization.

Thinking about if you need college

Can You Educate Yourself Without College?

We have already established that going to college is not always necessary. But is self-directed learning always possible?

Yes, but expect it to be challenging. Let us take a look at some of the common challenges of people who learn on their own and at ways to overcome them.

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Not Knowing What They Want

Knowing what you want is the first step, and this is the stage where people get stuck most of the time.

The Japanese concept called “ikigai” is a good start. This pertains to a person’s reason for being and is the convergence of four things: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

Of the four questions, the first two are the most difficult because they require you to look introspectively and back at your past. 

Consider the things you enjoyed, the awards you received, or what your family (or friends) say you’re good at.

Lacking Self-motivation Or Time

This is a challenge for many people, whether they’re studying or working. That is why it is essential to start with something that you really like.

And once you’ve decided to take a specific path, put it on your schedule and force yourself to follow through.

You can also look for a study buddy or an accountability partner to check in with you from time.

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Information and Choice Overload

Because sources of learning materials abound, it is easy to be overwhelmed by what you need to know.

To start, choose a single course and finish it. As much as possible, do not take a similar class or look elsewhere for more information unless directed by your instructor, mentor, or self-devised lesson plan.

When too much new information is dumped at you, break it down into chunks, and take your time to digest it all.

Follow the famous Pomodoro technique. Do your tasks for 25 minutes and take a break for five minutes. Then repeat. 

You’ll notice that this method gets things done.

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Ease of Quitting

Because you are learning from a free or inexpensive course, the temptation to quit is always strong. After all, you don’t have any student loans to pay, and you’ll find other things to do.

Stop that thought. Again, you can work with an accountability partner and make a bet that you will have to pay them $500 (for example) if you quit.

Raising the stakes in this manner forces you to keep going. The pain of losing the $500, in this case, will likely be greater than the ease of being able to quit.

Wondering if What They’re Learning Will Make a Difference

It is easy to diminish the value of a skill that you’ve learned through an online course. Before you fall into that trap, take a look at the projects that you have completed.

Create a portfolio and start sending job applications. You’ll find that your experience is more valuable than you think.

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Can You Be Successful Without College?

The tech industry is led by people who embody success without earning their college diplomas.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, right? The pillars of computing, smartphones, and social media began their enterprise after just a few years of college study.

People with no college degrees have also found success in the creative and entertainment industries.

Say “hello” to Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Steven Spielberg, Alicia Keys, and Madonna. When they were younger, they discovered their talents, developed themselves, and found their niche in their own fields.

There are many more outstanding people with no college degrees, and we can learn lessons from them.

In many interviews of successful people, they have shared that taking advantage of opportunities, enriching their talents, hard work, and grit are some of the things that started their path to success.

How To Learn Without Going To College:

Depending on what you decide to learn and the depth that you would like to learn a subject, there are several options that you can consider.

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Online Education

Online courses span from health, coding, and data science to business skills. You may even find high school and college subjects that are being taught by respected universities.

Choose an online course that is created by an authority in the industry. To stick to the safest options, go to websites (Coursera, Edx) that facilitate classes by university professors.

On the other hand, you can learn new skills through classes on LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, and Udemy. Great computer development classes can be found on Udacity.


This traditional learning method isn’t outdated if you want to study theoretical subjects like science and history. Start with an introductory book before proceeding to more advanced topics. Check with your local bookstore or Amazon for availability and reviews.

Mentorship and OJT

One of the best ways to learn is to learn while doing. Find a mentor or apply for on-the-job training in an industry that you are interested in.

Working with them is not a guarantee that they will hire you, but you will undoubtedly gain new skills and connections in the industry.

Recommended Reading: How to improve note-taking skills.


If you can’t find a mentorship or OJT opportunity, volunteer your skills instead. You may apply as a part-time volunteer as you hone your skills and build your portfolio.

When you are ready to look for a full-time job, you can cite this project as relevant experience, and you may even ask your team head to be your character reference.

Will You Need To Go To College?

Not everyone needs to go to college, especially since many skills can now be learned online. Of course, highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and engineering, still require licensed graduates of specific courses.

If you are still unsure about the opportunities ahead of you, we recommend that you consult your guidance counselor or a career adviser to help you examine your options.

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