College purports to offer mainly two things of value (other than the piece of paper): knowledge and network. The true educational value of college is highly questionable in light of studies showing that a significant number of college students see little or no intellectual gains over the course of two and four-year stays in college (see Richard Arum’s Academically Adrift, for example), though it doesn’t take much more than observation to see that college isn’t doing very well to prepare young people for the workforce.
The knowledge that students gain in college is known far and wide to be largely irrelevant to their work. Companies know this, yet some still require a college degree from the outset (again, it is easier to verify that you are capable of the job, though not more accurate than other gauges).
The other offering is a network. The primary draw of Ivy League universities is that your network will be of an entirely different makeup: other students who are Ivy League students and thus will probably go on to be highly influential people, and as you all grow older, that network will bloom into some pretty important relationships for your career and your ventures.
So, in order to replace college, we have to get those two things on our own. In order to get the most out of college, you need to make sure you get knowledge and a network out of it. The following pages show you how to do that no matter what position you’re in.