Last week I heard about Paypal founder Peter Thiel offering $100,000 to 20 college students under 20 who would skip college to pursue an entrepreneurial venture. Thiel’s goal is to encourage young entrepreneurs to take a 2-year break from college to implement their ideas in technology and science. The program isn’t meant to discourage education, but champions the ideas of young visionaries and encourages them to be world changers.
Greed over education?
Ok, but doesn’t this encourage young adults to avoid education and ultimately harm them? I would disagree. In fact, I would say that the 20 who are selected are very intelligent in their field of interest. Spending 3-4 years studying things that aren’t interesting to them can be a poor use of time if they’re not growing and advancing. This is especially true if you graduate with school debt.
To address the question of pursuing greed over education, I would ask that same question to college students. Why are most students there? Is it because they love education? Most are there to try to shape a better life with higher earning potential. Neither side should use the money argument as a reason to support or reject the offer. The true purpose is to support visionaries who might make a difference in the world with their specialized knowledge in science and technology.
Would you skip college?
If I knew that I could still get a degree afterwards, I would definitely take the offer! Thiel isn’t making these young people sign a contract that says they’re not able to get a degree at all. It’s just a nudge to see if they are willing to take some risk in hopes to build something that can change the world.
So what about you? Would you take the offer? For those with degrees, would you have considered it back in the day?