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 like to keep updated about what’s happening in the world, but not out of obligation, to talk [about it with] someone else or for entertainment.” – Female, 25, MA

“Sexts, hugs, and rock ‘n roll.” That’s how BuzzFeed describes DigiTour, an 18-city bus tour bringing some of the most popular teens on social media to meet crowds of their screaming fans around the country this summer. Most of the digital celebrities involved don’t have traditional talent—but that doesn’t seem to matter. In 2014 the tour sold 120,000 tickets for 60 shows, and they are set to double that number this year. DigiTour could be the “clearest sign yet that the entertainment industry’s star-making apparatus is being turned upside down.” (A topic we explored in depth in our hot-off-the presses trend report.) (BuzzFeed)

As if that wasn’t evidence enough that young consumers are not like you…A recent poll on the American Dream revealed that Millennials’ views of success in America are not the same as older generations. Respondents under 30-year-olds were the most likely to say that having a job that paid well was crucial to attaining the American Dream (47%), and placed more importance on luxury items—travel and the latest technology—than other age groups (32%). (CNN Money)

Are you ready for some fireworks? Fourth of July spending is reportedly up, and 64.4% of consumers plan to celebrate the day. When we surveyed 13-32-year-olds about their plans, only 8% said they weren’t planning to celebrate. We also found that spending for Independence Day shows signs of increasing among Millennials and teens. In 2014 they estimated they would spend an average of $70.21—this year that number went up to $85.56. (MediaPost)

Watching and sharing video content is huge part of Millennials and teens’ online activity—and their mobile behavior. According to Ypulse’s February monthly survey, 50% of 13-32-year-olds say they watch videos on their phones once a day or more. So it makes sense that apps focused on viral video content are a growing category. Minute is a startup video app “for the ADD generation.” The platform finds the most viral parts of online video and turns them into short “Vine-like” clips. (TechCrunch)

Inclusion is becoming increasingly important to young consumers, and the Girl Scouts has made their stance on being an inclusive organization clear this week. The group returned a $100,000 donation after being told the money could not be used to support transgendered girls. To make up the funds, they set up an IndieGogo campaign on Monday, and launched a #ForEVERYGirl campaign to get the message out. The crowdfunding page has raised over $300,000 in three days. (Fast Company)

Want to know more about how young consumers will be spending for the holiday? Our 4th of July Infographic Snapshot has been opened to all our readers—you can click through to see a break down of the red, white, blue, and green in our coverage of what Millennials & teens are buying, and doing, for Independence Day this year. 83% of 14-32-year-olds say they are proud to be an American, and they’re planning to celebrate. Happy 4th everyone! 

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