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…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “If I played the lottery tomorrow and won $100,000,000 I would save most of it, donate some of it. And I'd buy my dad a boat, because I promised I'd buy him one if I was ever a millionaire.” –Female, 15, WA

This week, celebrity Photoshopping was debated online when fans criticized Beyoncé for posting an Instagram picture that looked altered to make her look slimmer. The star (and others) have been accused of using Photoshop or other image-fixing apps on social media photos before, a practice that many feel contributes to young female fans’ body issues, and does not align with the imperfection embracing and authenticity that so many young consumers expect. (BuzzFeed)

The Cartoon Network has launched an anti-bullying campaign called “I Speak Up” to encourage kids who have been bullied to reach out to trusted adults. Viewers are being encouraged to submit videos (with the permission of their parent or guardian) to share the anti-bullying message, and some of those videos will be featured in the campaign online and on TV. Visitors to the Speak Up website can also take a pledge to stop bullying, and earn special badges while playing Cartoon Network games. (PR Newser)

Young consumers are screen multitaskers, and second screen use while watching TV is a norm—but it’s not always clear to brands how they should engage in that behavior, and just throwing a hashtag on the screen isn’t going to cut it. Now Twitter says that studios and networks that live-tweet their popular programming (post and respond to viewers while the show is happening) can “dramatically boost followers and Twitter mentions” and even bump up TV ratings. (Recode)

YouTube is coming to the big screen. The digital comedy duo who create SMOSH, a channel with 30 million subscribers, has created a movie that will be distributed by Lionsgate. The movie is being described as a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventurefor 2014” and will star a slew of other YouTube stars. The news is another example of traditional media embracing YouTube to entice young consumers, and the mainstreaming of the site’s stars. (Fast Company)

New research has found that across all grade levels and subjects, girls get better grades than male students—around the globe. The results have caused some to wonder if schools are “set up to favor the way girls learn and trip up boys.” Male students might be less able to self-discipline themselves, a key ingredient to doing well in classes, which means that the way education is structured plays into their weaknesses. (The Atlantic

Have some lingering questions about Millennials that you need answered for an upcoming meeting? That’s what Ypulse is here for. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies