Whatever your talent, it always makes sense at least to finish school. The school and university route to a career is still the least risky one to take. Unless you see an opportunity that will never come again in your lifetime, complete your university education, preferably leaving with a professional qualification. The reasons are:
- Data consistently show that generally more education corresponds with more income. For example, those with professional qualifications earn about 4.5 times those without a high school diploma.
- Education is not a guarantee of success but the rewards are enough for most people, and extraordinary financial success is possible when you reach the top of a professional or corporate career.
- Data also show you are more likely to be employed and up to a higher age than people with ;ess qualification. Furthermore there is a world-wide trend for higher proportion of people with higher education. For example in Australia, an extra 5% of people in the 23 to 34 age group have a degree or higher compared with the cohort 10 years ago.
- Often one’s talents are not obvious at a young age. Even if they are obvious, they may not come into fruition and you need a backup option. Stars in sports and the arts might know their special skills early, but then injuries might kill off a promising future or the opportunities might not arise. Then a backup becomes useful.
- The basic education that one receives in school is helpful in whatever career one chooses. Many people who have chosen careers where a degree is not necessary had actually done well in school and obtained university places. The skills they picked up from the education system assisted them in managing their careers better
Examples: John McEnroe attended Stanford University, while Jimmy Connors went to UCLA. Tigers Woods also attended Stanford University. Although he dropped out to turn professional, he had already won many amateur titles by then. Many people know that Bill Gates attended Harvard although he dropped out to start Microsoft. The important point is that Tiger Woods and Bill Gates could have completed their education, but chose a higher value path when the opportunity was now or never.
Getting to university and finishing is not easy. In the U.S., only 34% of people in the 25 to 34 age group have a bachelor’s degree or more. Only 10% have a master’s or professional degree. See Chart. For other countries the exact number may be different but the challenge of getting university education remains a significant one. (For comparison, a roughly similar indicator for Australia is 30%, Singapore 24%)