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I recently got a really tough question from a reader. This is a subject that can offend a lot of people.

 

I’m a junior in college going for a degree in accounting. I’m doing alright in school but I’m starting to realize how much I hate the subject. I originally picked it because I thought it would be a good job but now I just don’t think I’d want the job (even if it was good.) I think I made a mistake. I know you talk about how people shouldn’t go to college until they’re sure about it. Do you think I should be quitting in this situation?

-Damien

 

The first thing you need to do is accept that this is no longer a decision based solely on your feelings. Yes. I don’t think any student should go to college if they’re not passionate (or highly interested) in the subject matter. That being said, you have already invested a ton of time and money into this. Now that you’ve invested in it, you need to look at the problem from a much more complicated perspective.

 

To start, I recommend looking at your situation from as logical a position as you can. You don’t have to decide based on the logic but it can help you understand where you’re truly at. Doing this should take a few minutes of research. I’ll do a sample to help you follow along. (Insert your own numbers. Different colleges require dramatically different numbers.)

 

Assume a student pays $30,000 a year for college. Assuming that student paid the college loans with debt then the student owes $60,000 by the time they’re in junior year. (Naturally, most students don’t have this much to worry about in debt but this is just an example.) That debt will need to get paid off somehow.

 

If a student drops out with 60k in debt then they probably couldn’t get as good a job as if they graduated. Lets be enthusiastic and say graduating would offer the student 60k a year in income and quitting would only offer the student 30k a year. Now assume the student is a virtual monk and lives on 20k a year in both scenarios and pays the rest of their money towards student loans.

 

If the student quits college, they’ll pay 10k a year for 6 years to pay off 60k in debt (excluding interest which would add a notable but, for our quick and dirty purposes, unimportant amount of time.)

 

If the student graduates they’ll pay 40k a year for 3 years to pay off 120k in debt (again with the previous disclaimer.) Naturally, you might want to add 2 years to that for the actual college time.

 

Notice the huge discrepancy. It will take ½ the time to pay off college if the student just graduates. These numbers aren’t perfect but they can help illustrate how important it is to stick it out when you’re most of the way through college.

 

College is an investment. I would have never recommended picking a college major before you’re 100% certain but after you’ve invested a large sum of money into the process, the decisions should be much more difficult.

 

If you actually run these numbers yourself you might be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t have much debt and aren’t going into a high salary career after graduation, it may look okay for you to quit. Sadly, with the way high schools and colleges push students into loans, this isn’t always the case.

 

If you found a career that you truly love and want to spend the rest of your life doing then, despite the costs, you might want to quit college and do it. That being said, if you aren’t absolutely 100% sure about what you want to do then quitting college when you’re already heavily invested can be a terribly risky choice.

 

You may not love accounting but accounting may be what can pay off your student loans faster. Not loving accounting is okay. The real question is whether or not you’d love doing anything in particular. Many college students quit college just to pay off their loans with a crappy minimum wage job they hate (just as much as they would have hated their potential career.) The years in that minimum wage job just end up taking away extra years of their life.

 

If you graduate and pay off your student loans with a good job then it will be much easier to never have to worry about accounting again. Many students quit college to do those crappy jobs just to go back to college when they realize how impractical not finishing their degree is.

 

I hate giving this advice but sometimes, after you make a bad decision, you’ve got to make up for it with some smart decisions. Ideally, this is a mistake that no one would have to suffer from. Hopefully you can take it as a lesson. Run your numbers and see what looks like the smarter way to proceed. I suggest you strongly consider finishing college even if you happened to really be struggling with it.

 

Of course, all this is personal. Only you know the information required to answer this question. I hope going through this process can help you make the right decision.

 

Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow, check out the archives, and read the ebooks in the sidebar to learn everything.

Q/A – Should I Quit College?

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15 thoughts on “Q/A – Should I Quit College?

  • December 9, 2016 at 7:54 pm
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    As hard as this may have been to read for some people, this is a very realistic perspective of this situation. If you really know what market you want to be in and really master your niche, I believe it’s also possible to slowly transition out of college by working. The good aspect of college is that it can be one giant network, if you treat it like one. Being resourceful in college can help you build some type of business where you have ownership. So even if you don’t like your major/classes..just know you can hack college in other ways to your benefit.

    Good luck to all!

    Reply
  • December 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm
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    With someone in this situation, this can be a hard reality to accept, but is true in many ways. I do however think it depends on the person; if you truly know the market you want to be in and study the niche you may have a chance by outworking your competitors (this is risky, and may not be realistic for many though). For most, it might be better playing it safe and making that transition slowly. Thanks for your perspective on this, very helpful.

    Reply
  • December 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    A great reply! The amount of money invested can never be got back. It is very true. Thinking from another perspective, if it’s just the first year or so, I think quitting is better than ending up in a bad situation. If the student absolutely hates what he is doing then, there is no point in building up back papers and wasting another 2 to 3 years or so. The earlier you quit, the better. In case you get back at least half of what you paid.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm
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    This is great advice which is really hard to see when it’s you in that situation.
    Unfortunately for me, changing majors wasn’t an option. I’d do anything now to take back dropping out.
    Anyone else think it’s crazy for you to decide your whole future aged 18/19 though?

    Reply
    • November 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm
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      You’re right about that one.

      Student’s are taught to believe they’re deciding the rest of their life. That just makes it impossible for students to make a good decision. It’s just too big a decision for an 18 year old. (Heck… I know plenty of middle aged people that are still hopelessly confused what they want to do for the rest of their life.)

      Reply
  • May 29, 2016 at 11:26 am
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    Crap… just did calculations. I’m staying.

    Reply
  • May 29, 2016 at 11:23 am
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    This is digusting stuff.

    College is one of the most consistent ways people keep themselves from being in poverty. You should be ashamed for spreading this bunk.

    Reply
  • May 27, 2016 at 1:46 am
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    I don’t know where Damien is studying, but I think that it still isn’t too late for him to change majors. Considering he is already majoring in something math-related, perhaps if he likes some other major related to math, he could already have the pre-requisites. Combined with some summer classes, I don’t see why this would be such a big problem.

    However, in case he can’t change, I can say that this post was a refreshing change from the mantra to quit what you don’t like, and I totally agree.

    Reply
  • May 25, 2016 at 9:56 pm
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    As an individual who come from a third world country where education is a must but it’s hard to obtain for a lot of my countrymen, I would say, you are lucky enough because that’s a great course to take for college and you have a great opportunity to be a successful person with that course. The response is very true especially if you are not that one responsible for your tuition fee at school. You do need a lot of considerations before quitting. You shouldn’t think only of yourself saying you wanted to quit just because you don’t like taking up the course anymore. You do have to consider the money and time invested for your education.

    As a piece of advice, take your situation as a challenge to strive harder in your chosen field. I’ve been dreaming to be an accountant but I ended up to be a non-practicing Registered Nurse and if given the chance I would really love to be an accountant.

    Reply
  • May 25, 2016 at 7:31 am
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    This is a realistic advice. It’s difficult to enter college without being sure of what you really want that’s why taking a gap year is useful to be able to reflect on things. You should try to weigh in options first and get to know your talents and your vision for the future before entering college. Many students are influenced by people around them in taking a college degree. Nowadays, graduating college is not a sure ladder to success and most people don’t work in the same field that they finished. But it also depends on the country you’re living. In our country, you won’t be able to find a minimum paying job, not even a proper restaurant job if you didn’t have a degree. That’s why we were forced to decide on a college major at a very young age. Usually, a student’s decision is based on practicality. As they say, go where the money is. Without knowing that as you grow old, your priority in life changes. You may find an accounting degree challenging at a young age but find it boring when you get older, wishing that you should have followed your dream. I don’t know if americans are lucky for having student’s loan available to them but the situation in this blog is really difficult. I would be very afraid to quit having a huge burden coming after me.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2016 at 6:17 am
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    What a useful response this is. It can often be hard to ‘see the wood for the trees’ and this little arithmetical example is a perfect way to take a step back from what’s likely to be an emotional situation – I can imagine parental responses to the suggestion you might drop out – and make a more informed decision.

    It may be worth you bearing in mind that many people going to university don’t end up actually working in their degree subject area. I studied computer science and ended up in university management, which is equally well paid.

    Reply

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