“Kids oftentimes are not presented with alternatives or are made to believe that the alternatives wouldn’t give them the credibility they need to succeed in life. Nowadays, college is just being viewed as an extension of high school. The question isn’t so much “whether you’ll go to college” as it is “which college will you go to?” – Deb Fillman
In the third episode of the new series Success Without School, co-hosts Deb Fillman of The Reason We Learn and Hannah Frankman of rebelEducator talk about building your credibility outside of college.
Hannah and Deb have seen both sides of the story, with Deb getting a college degree and Hannah never attending any formal school in her life. They discuss what the college credential means to people: employers, parents, and the kids themselves.
This episode questions the value of a college credential in various career paths, and talks about how to build a successful career without a degree.
Hannah explores how preparing for a college education is baked into K-12 schooling as a whole, and how educating for the purposes of getting into a college impacts children. She also talks about how an effective network can be built outside of college, at a fraction of the time and cost.
This conversation covered:
- Creating credibility without college
- Lack of options being presented to kids graduating from schools
- How kids become emotionally attached to the idea of a college degree
- The college “experience” and how it means different things to different people
- Networking strategies outside college and how Hannah built her connections
- Deb’s story of going through college and later building her own credential
- The alternative avenues that you can explore if you don’t go to college
- Hannah’s journey building higher education college alternative programs
- How traditional schooling dampens initiative in students
- A history of homeschooling families preparing kids for college (and how that’s changing)
Hannah talks about a few communities she engaged with early on to build her network. Here are the communities she mentions:
- Next Gen Network (16:32): Hannah found some of her first high-value networking opportunities here. Like college, this community provides a lot of valuable connections. Unlike college, this is free.
- Praxis (17:15): Hannah was first an intern, then a coach at this business bootcamp, and left as their Program Manager. She now has a robust network of mentors, colleagues, guest speakers, hiring partners, and mentees/apprentices who are all doing wonderful things on their own, all springing from her work with Praxis. (Some of them even joined her at rebelEducator!)
- Write of Passage (18:01): An online writing class , where Hannah made a number of valuable connections. The Write of Passage course is significantly shorter and cheaper than any college degree, but has a better networking opportunity than most colleges – and the idea for rebelEducator was born out of the course.
“Kids oftentimes are not presented with alternatives or are made to believe that the alternatives wouldn’t give them the credibility they need to succeed in life. Nowadays, college is just being viewed as an extension of high school. The question isn’t so much “whether you’ll go to college” as it is “which college will you go to?” – Deb Fillman (3:58)
“If you’re going to derive your self-esteem from college, that to me is a red flag. Ask yourself this: Am I doing this just to make me feel better? Or am I doing this because I want it, I need it, and it’s justifiable to pay this much money for it.”– (Referring to the motivations behind getting a college degree) Deb Fillman (14:08)
“I’ve checked all the boxes without going to college that people say you need a college degree to check. So unless you need a piece of paper for legal reasons on the career trajectory you’re on, going to college is probably not the best use of your time.” – Hannah Frankman (22:36)
“The process of preparing kids for college begins in kindergarten. Getting into a college is the primary goal for all K-12 education. When you take away this assumption, a lot of the assumptions baked into elementary and secondary education also fall away. I think this is really powerful, especially for parents who are thinking about pulling their kids out of school.” -Hannah Frankman (27:45)
“A lot of kids go to college because to them it’s the path of least resistance. Kids who have never worked a job before don’t perceive the weight of having debt for many years. It just feels like high school, but with drinking. The responsibilities of being an adult are delayed.”-Deb Fillman (44:50)
“People, in general, are bad at recognizing long-term costs. That is why the cost of college debt is often ignored. For just out-of-school students, this perception is even lesser.” – Hannah Frankman (45: 40)