Is Post-Secondary Education Necessary?

Question

I am a father of five children ranging from 3 years old to 20 and I would like your opinion on a matter. My wife and I prayed and asked the Lord to show us what would be the best follow-on once our two eldest being boys finish school as we were not sure whether or not college was a good choice for them. And we’ve stumbled across books and heard talks that supported our opinion that our children should not be entering the classrooms of the university system.

My older boys have started a small business focused on SEO, Internet Marketing, Video Production, Website Design and other services, but the income is not as significant as hoped and we are now at a crossroads.

What would you recommend as the best way forward?

Answer

According to scripture it is clear that the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge are critical and we are commanded to attain it at all costs. In the book of Proverbs alone, there are 92 references to “wisdom” or “knowledge” and most of them are exhortations to seek it. 

In terms of our children's post secondary education, perhaps the best starting point should be "what is God calling your child to do?" And then - with the guidance of God - we need to create the roadmap necessary to help them navigate to where they feel God is leading them by acquiring the necessary skills, wisdom, and knowledge.

If God is calling your children into certain fields such as law, medicine, nursing, engineering, etc., a formal education and licensing is definitely required. Staking out a position that "college is bad" could limit the possibilities of what calling God might place on a young adult.

If you do decide to eschew a formal education for your children, I would strongly urge you to come up with a skills and knowledge acquisition plan to replace the formal education and not simply leave a void. 

If God is calling someone to be an entrepreneur, a classroom education is not required (since there is no requirement for a degree or licensing), but one must clearly seek training in business and entrepreneurship to acquire the skills required to plan, launch, and run a business such as sales, marketing, accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, strategy, etc. Failure to do so is to potentially limit their ability to be as fruitful as they could be for God's glory. I put together the Venture Academy to help meet part of the need for entrepreneurship training.

Having said that an entrepreneur does not require a degree, I would also be the first one to admit that my Harvard MBA comes in pretty handy. Not only was it an excellent education (albeit a very expensive one), it also gave me a broad network of relationships. Whether I am trying to gain insight from a complex financial statement, land a big client, line up a key meeting, or raise capital, etc., the quality and credibility of my formal education is hard to argue against.

Because I recognize that a formal education is not within reach of everyone in our global New Venture Lab membership, I do my best to convey the key nuggets of wisdom that I have found to be most critical in my entrepreneurial experience in an attempt to be a blessing to the faithful.

See this collection of previous blog posts on the matter of post-secondary education for further reading:

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