A recent study featured in Business Insider by Nobel-laureate and UChicago professor James Heckman, shows that preschool actually has a higher Return On Investment rate than college. The article concludes that “for 40 years, it seems, we’ve been emphasizing college enrollment much more intensely than signing up for preschool and kindergarten” even though the extent of one’s early childhood education is a more accurate predictor of later success in life.
Now a college degree can pay off big time in the college market, especially in a recession but it seems with entrepreneurs, for some, a college degree is not necessarily an essential. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr seems to even have a preference for college dropouts when she looks at startups for investing. She said:
Want to be an entrepreneur? Drop out of college.
Fred Wilson and I, on the way back from an Etsy board meeting, were talking about how many entrepreneurs had dropped out of college. Rob Kalin, Etsy’s founder, never finished college. Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey — the founders of Twitter — are not college graduates. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, is another dropout. And of course Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. As an angel investor, I’ve invested in two college dropout founders this month. What gives?
Last year, Peter Theil established the Thiel Fellowship, which gives college students under the age of 20 $100,000 and two years’ time to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. But there was a catch: Thiel Fellows are required to drop out of college for the two years of the fellowship. Shaila Ittycheria of E[nstitute]– a two-year apprenticeship program for young adults – thinks getting a college degree isn’t necessary. Earlier this month The Grindstone interviewed 20 year old MySocialCloud CEO Stacy Ferriera, who dropped out of college to run her million dollar business.