Yep. We quit college. You probably think we’re crazy — and a few years ago, I would’ve agreed with you! But a little research and some creativity totally changed my perspective on the need for a college degree (and all the debt it comes with!).
My husband and I know a thing or two about the disappointment that comes with higher-education sticker shock.
While I was able to complete some coursework to become a preschool teacher — a career field that turned out NOT to be a lifelong pursuit for me — my husband wasn’t so fortunate.
I married my husband in 2007. He, too, attended college for a short time, mostly doing technical theater. However, even with all the time we devoted to coursework for career choices that weren’t right for us, NEITHER of us ever finished a degree of any kind.
Don’t get me wrong. We LOVE learning, but sticking in college just wasn’t panning out.
Fast forward to 2009. My husband got accepted to a very prestigious and well-known special effects and animation school in Northern California. We were SO excited. And then the sticker shock set in.
$80,000 for tuition — and that wasn’t even including housing for the both of us! No one in our family could even qualify to co-sign on that monster of a student loan.
Talk about complete and utter defeat.
My husband passed every test, completed every application, and jumped through every hoop. He was in! He was on his way to work with some of the most talented minds in the film-making industry! But then money happened — or, rather, the lack thereof.
I was heartbroken for him. I was so sad that this opportunity was slipping out of his reach. BUT then something happened that I really didn’t anticipate.
We both felt a HUGE sense of relief.
Why? Because we couldn’t imagine what the heck it would be like to live with that weight of debt as we tried to build our lives. We felt a moral satisfaction to be able to walk away from it — like we were saved from a whole different kind of grief.
And that was that. We haven’t pursued traditional education since, and we are both SO glad we haven’t.
Late spring of last year I discovered a website called Proofread Anywhere — a blog owned by Cailtin Pyle. (You can read my in-depth review on it here.) Caitlin took her experience as a professional transcript proofreader for court reporters and turned it into an amazing online course to train other people — with no prior experience — how to proofread for court reporters and make a living doing it — from home!
I was intrigued.
After some vacillating for a while on whether or not I should enroll (Let’s be real. There are a LOT of scams out there on the Internet.), my husband and I decided it was a good opportunity for me to gain a skill and earn some income from home. I had my reservations, but ultimately I went for it.
And then I discovered a world I had NO idea existed — the world of nontraditional online education. And by nontraditional, I mean courses made by successful professionals (not professors!) who have HUGE amounts of expertise and want to share it with people for WAY less than colleges charge.
Holy debt-free education, Batman!
Here are the three advantages to these nontraditional courses (and why I’m glad we quit college!):
1. No. Student. Loans.
Can I get an amen?? Finding creative ways to become experienced and educated saved us from mountains of crushing debt. Were we debt-free? Nope, but we are now! With the education I received from these amazing courses (Yes, plural! There are many!), we were able to pay off all our debt and live in debt-free bliss!
2. No wasted time.
The training I received from these amazing professionals took a tiny fraction of the time to complete than taking the traditional college route. I’m talking about saving YEARS of time that is better spent enjoying my family and doing the things I love.
This also means I was able to earn a living years sooner than going through college without sacrificing pay grade.
I didn’t have to waste time on prerequisite courses that have NOTHING to do with my actual career goal, and I didn’t have to waste money on courses that would ultimately be forgotten. Heck. Yes.This doesn’t mean the quality of education was watered down. It’s actually the opposite!
These courses are TARGETED to the niche they train you in. That means they cut out whatever isn’t necessary and focus on the content that will make you excellent at whatever you do. They require a LOT of hard work and dedication, but the pay-off is SO worth it.
3. No pointless degree.
Wait, what? Yep. I said it. I’m not bashing anyone who has worked their behinds off obtaining amazing educational acknowledgments and awards. No way. You all are amazing people and deserve the titles and degrees you’ve earned.
I am bashing the system.
In one of my jobs, I have had the privilege of answering TONS of emails from people heartbroken over having a useless degree they spent THOUSANDS on but couldn’t find work after school. And it is heartbreaking. That amount of time, work, and money should produce fruit — and lots of it!
But in today’s world, degrees simply aren’t delivering the success people expect them to. People with master’s degrees are working desk jobs because they just couldn’t find the work. Really?! What the heck?
This is the problem: Traditional college courses teach ZERO curriculum on marketing and building your business. Zip. Nada. Most people graduate with degrees that don’t give them the know-how to build the actual career. How does that even make sense?
THIS is why I’m glad we quit college. I was able to obtain AMAZING training in skills that are highly sought after AND learn how to actually find and make the money — all for less than one traditional college course. This is something entire degree programs can’t do.
But don’t your clients expect you to have a degree? Nope. Shocked? Don’t be. My clients don’t care whether or not I spent thousands of dollars to earn a degree; they care about whether or not I have the skills. Am I good at what I do? This is all that matters to them. And because of the training I’ve received, I can confidently say, “Yes, I am.”
This, my friends, is the beginning of a new kind of education system — one created and utilized by people who want success without being a slave to a cracked system of endless debt and sub-par results. It’s breaking the cycle, and it’s absolutely amazing.
What about you? Do you think debt-free, targeted training will catch on? Have you taken any unique online courses to help you start your own home business? Comment below and share!
18 thoughts on “3 Reasons We Quit College (And Why We’re Glad We Did)”
Hi Katie 🙂
I have watched your interview on YouTube and I would say I am very inspired and impressed with your determination and courage to move ahead. I am still hesitating whether to enroll in the courses and I am very touched by the continuous follow-ups from Caitlin via email. FYI, I am from Malaysia and not from an English-speaking countries (Malaysia) so I am still having doubts; it also costs us a lot of money considering the currency exchange rate. But, I am really glad you have made it so far.
I’m so happy to hear that my story has inspired you! My encouragement for you is that there are many work-at-home opportunities that are not affected by the fact that you’re not a native English speaker or that you live outside of the US. A lot of people take these course outside of the US and are very successful at what they do. So don’t feel discouraged. 🙂
I’m so glad I came across your post.
I completed one year of college and dropped out because life happens. I had planned on starting back over the summer, but I have been been contemplating taking Caitlin’s proofreading course (as well as Janet’s transcription course) for literally over a year now. I have also sent her several emails with questions that she happily answered. My big concern has always been I didn’t want to put out that much money for something that wasn’t legit. I was worried because I do not have a college degree that I would not be able to find clients. Reading this post has put some of those fears at ease. Still a little nervous to take the plunge, but I think I may just do it.
So happy to hear you enjoyed my post, Kate! I was super nervous too before I started my own work-at-home journey. It’s scary to try something new — especially when it costs money! But the path I have taken after first enrolling in Caitlin’s course has been one that has literally changed my life. All it takes is one “yes” to make BIG changes. 🙂
Katie I hope you can help me with this question. I was thinking of enrolling in a transcription course but the fastest I can type is 65 wpm. I am wondering if proofreading might be a slightly better fit. If you could do it over again and cost was a concern what would be your first and second choices for online courses? Thank you so much. ( I’m 56 years old, handicapped and got served divorce papers this year after 37 years of marriage and unable to use my BS degree.) So you can see why I hope you can answer this question.)
First, I’m so sorry to hear about your current circumstances. 🙁 As for your question, a slower typing speed can definitely reduce your earning potential and, thus, make transcription a less desirable option. I agree that proofreading might be better for you. If, however, you were to practice and build your typing speed up, transcription is definitely a fantastic option for bringing in income. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose to take the proofreading course first. It really teaches a great foundation of punctuation and grammar, which is necessary for quality transcription. I used the income from that to fund the transcription course, too, so I could add it to my list of offered services. Since cost is a factor, have you considered Gina Horkey’s virtual assisting course? I LOVE my work as a VA, and it’s a lot cheaper to get started. Food for thought. 🙂
Have you heard what the average reading speed is of proofreaders as I know there is variation and of course there will always be the outliers, but in general is there an average speed that you have heard or know of?
Most people start out around 30-40 pages per hour. This is a newbie speed. It is common for trained proofreaders to read around 60 pages an hour, but it really depends on the person. For really super clean work that isn’t dense, some proofreaders can read as much as 100 pages an hour, but that’s the exception, not the rule. 🙂
REALLY enjoyed this article you wrote because it states what I have experienced by finishing my degree, “come heck or high water,” as I was not a QUITTER. I should have quit but listened to society. Now I am paying a terrible price for the rest of my life, barring a financial miracle, or a good-paying income stream. I am also 61 years old and not too many employers think I am the best candidate for the job but I still need to work.
It is so not worth going to college unless you have a clear path to earning an income immediately afterwards. I had to fall back on my nursing (LPN) for three years after graduation, which I have never really enjoyed, as it was the wrong fit, and now I am in-between nursing jobs working with three different agencies, but an injury has really put the kabash on most assignments that involve lifting, which most do.
So now I am applying for a courier position with a pharmaceutical and will interview for that. In the meantime, for income, I drive for Uber and Lyft and that has been okay. Where I live, it is not so busy.
Your information regarding the pace of the reading was intriguing and so very helpful. Not everyone can or wants to read super fast. Some mistakes may be missed and that can cause clients to lose their confidence in the proofreader, if you know what I mean.
Thank you for posting all of this good info Katie. 🙂
You are so right, Darlene! Proofreading for speed can definitely reduce the quality of a proofreaders work. I always say we should proofread for quality; speed is a bonus. 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about your current employment situation. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers for your interview! Also, don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway and maybe win free tuition to one of the courses we are offering! You might find a niche you really enjoy. 🙂 Good luck to you!
Firstly, I love this post! My college degree is totally pointless, and my husband recently quit college as well- we are so relieved!
I am really interested in Proofread Anywhere, and saw that you are able to make around $1,500 a month from working part time. If I may ask, how many hours specifically are devoted to proofreading/managing your clients and business?
Thanks in advance!
I, personally, only proofread VERY part-time. I dedicate about 10 hours a week (at an average reading speed of 35 pages an hour. Yeah, I’m slow.) So that would make me roughly $500/month at the page rate I chose, which was on the lower end. If you can read at a faster rate (most people build up speeds of 60+ pages an hour) and dedicate more hours to working, you can definitely make $1,500. Some students make twice that (and more!). It’s totally doable if you have the time and dedication. 🙂 Keep in mind, that amount doesn’t even include rush jobs, which pay a higher rate.
We are one of those families who went to college and/or vocational schooling. One of those families drowning in student loan debt. While our story is a little different, the problem is still the same. I was a nurse and became disabled. A career choice that I know could have sustained me for a lifetime. One that I love and miss every single day. My husband got a degree in Computer Network Engineering that he worked long and hard for and has not once been able to use it. He went for many interviews and everyone wanted experience, not just education. This posed a challenge because we’ve lived in rural communities for several years. Wrong degree for the lifestyle we choose. It was also partially because I need help at home considering my own challenges, as well as our two special needs children. And now we have his brother with his own special needs and his grandmother to take care of. Working from home is our only option considering our special and complex circumstances. Thanks for making this post. It validates a lot for me and gives me some hope that we can pull ourselves out of the debt we were left with as a result of our choices to formally educate ourselves.
I totally believe it’s possible for anyone! Keep up the hard work. I know it’ll pay off. 🙂
So much of what you’ve written resonates with me, Katie! I skipped on traditional education as well and for very similar reasons as you’ve mentioned. I felt it wasn’t for me and prayed that my intuition would lead me towards the right path. Went for a year “just to try it out,” and it confirmed for me what I initially felt.
I can definitely remember that relief you speak of. It had to do with the weight lifted from having to spend years and years of my life paying back for only 4 of it, regardless of quality. But there was also a huge sense of freedom after I set my mind to follow something that wasn’t supported by society — and my heart no less! 🙂 I no longer felt confined. Looking back on it, I’m so grateful I didn’t let anything stop me from listening to that little Divine voice of encouragement.
Exactly, Zorana! I like to call it free-range education. Being able to acquire valuable skills without acquiring years of debt IS a huge relief. Not only that, but a lot of these courses have payment plans, opening up opportunities for SO many people who simply can’t spend the money (or the time!) on traditional degree programs. 🙂
I couldn’t agree more with your view on college degrees! I find most of them useless at this point in our society. I’d love to hear more about any other online training. I am also taking Caitlyn’s course. I’m loving it! I learned about your blog from the group too. I can’t wait to hear more about what you have to say!
Thanks, Betsy!! Stick around. I’ll be doing a thorough review of Transcribe Anywhere and a couple other training programs as well. 🙂 So glad to have you visit MiM!