Every year, millions of young people in the U.S. go to college across the country to pursue higher education. Commonly called a “college degree,” the undergraduate bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete and is comprised of 120-128 semester credit hours.
After 4 or 5 years the successful student graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s in their respective areas. However, when it comes to rapidly evolving fields like marketing, the language and systems used in school can often become outdated by the time graduation arrives.
For Olivia Starling, this prompts the question, is college the only way to success, especially if you plan on having your own business?
Starling is founder and CEO of jewelry brand Starlette Galleria. She has created a multiple six figure business and found success learning from non-traditional sources, all while, she tells Digital Journal, not using her bachelor’s in marketing.
Starling explains there are two career paths to pursue and that “College is a huge investment, and isn’t necessary for every career field.”
She advises: “Before deciding on taking a more traditional career path after high school and going to college, ask yourself, is a degree the only path to the career you want? Jobs like nursing, teaching, and scientific research require college, but a marketing degree, for example, is not as important as having real life marketing experience.”
She explains that during 2020 and even more so now well into 2021, society is seeing more and more educational content being uploaded to the Internet. Giving individuals unfiltered access to information that can help them take control of their future career directions.
The counter argument to this comes down to interpretation and with the necessity of understanding context and theory, in order to understand the body of knowledge presented. Nonetheless, Starling makes her point that a formal academic grounding is not necessarily required in all cases.
Starling goes on to say: “I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, but all of my marketing experience that has enabled me to build a multiple 6-figure business and brand has come from hours of YouTube and taking online courses from people who have achieved personal success on their own, not from my college education.”
In her opinion, she adds: “Over the years, college has been preached as “the only way to success”, and social pressures have led young adults into thousands of dollars in student debt that will take decades to pay off. Before choosing the path that everyone is taking, consider the abundance of options on the path less traveled.”