Millennials Embrace Autodidacticism And Alternate Career Paths

It’s college admissions season, when high schoolers across the country anxiously await a letter from their first-choice universities. But with ever higher cost of college and constant headlines of the number of grads who are out of work and saddled with debt, some Millennials are questioning the age-old path of going from high school to college to work.

They see their heroes, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, as examples of wildly successful people who never earned a degree. And yet another successful entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, is not only encouraging bright young minds to consider a career without college, he’s offering fellowship money for students who skip advanced schooling to get to work instead. With some of the smartest people they know telling them they don’t need college, Millennials feel emboldened to explore alternate career paths.

Another reason they’re brave enough to skip college is because they have another significant source of knowledge where they can learn whatever they need to know: the Internet. It’s easier than ever for a person to become an “autodidactic” — a person who teaches themselves — much like another Millennial hero, Sean Parker. It’s like the classic scene from “Good Will Hunting” when Will shows up a Harvard student as he tells him that he’ll eventually realize he “dropped $150,000 on an education he could have gotten for $1.50 in late charges at the public library,” only for Millennials, there are no late fees and little need to make trips to libraries.

For Millennials who see the Internet as access to the collective knowledge of the human race and who believe they can learn and excel at almost anything simply by spending some dedicated hours online, what’s the point of going to college? The value could come from the interaction with…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I'm trying to save roughly $5,000 to buy a vehicle. It will take me another 6 months or so.” –Male, 16, NC

The year started with a report that teens are leaving Facebook, and it’s ending the same way. A report this week showed that 88% of 13-17-year-olds were using the network in 2014, a drop from 94% in 2013. We’ve looked at the reasons that teens just aren’t as interested in Facebook before, and Ypulse’s latest social media tracker survey actually showed that currently only 63% of 13-17-year-olds say they use Facebook. (Mashable)

Millennial tastes are shaping the future of fast food, and majorly impacting longstanding brands. But what chains are keeping them happy now? YouGov BrandIndex ranked the restaurant chains that 18-33-year-olds would consider going to again to gauge their current brand loyalty. Gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy John’s topped the list, with 83% saying they would return. Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, and Subway made up the rest of the top five, in that order. (Business Insider)

Video sharing competition is heating up. Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has launched Vessel, his new subscription video service, which has been predicted to be a YouTube competitor. To entice creators to post content, they’re being offered $50 for every thousand views in the first three days they are posted, ifthey are only posted on Vessel. After a “72-hour exclusive window” the content can be shared on other sites. Currently Vessel is only open to creators, and a consumer launch “is pending.” (StreamDaily)

Kids are often shielded from adult content, usually because it is deemed too violent. But in reality, their bright cartoons might feature more carnage than grown-up fare. A recent study looked at the biggest children’s and adult movie hits in the same year and found that “two thirds of the 45 highest grossing children’s animated films feature an onscreen death of a major character” compared to half of the top “non-kid” films. “Death and destruction” are just a regular part of your average animated classic. (NYMag)

‘Tis the season for gift swaps, including the sinister favorite White Elephant—also known as Yankee Swap and Nasty Christmas. Old Navy is featuring the game in their holiday Vine campaign. Each day a video reveals gifts, from a high-end trip to a pogo stick, that will be given out, and every person who re-Vines or likes the clips is entered to win. The brand has also tapped 12 popular Viners to create their own clips in which they steal a previously opened gift or stay with the gift of the day. (Old Navy)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold tier subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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