Is college worth the price? Will college be a waste of time? These are questions that people today ask themselves starting in high school, perhaps more than at any point in the last 30 years. It continues after high school, where one still contemplates whether the risk is worth the possible rewards. I pondered them myself after graduating in 2011 and, after having a brief stint in community college, I made the decision not to bother at all with college. There were too many reasons to be skeptical; as one should be.

College tuition continues to increase along with student debt. If you get some sort of scholarship or grant then you don’t have to worry about this. But for the rest of us, some or much of this money comes out of our own pockets. Is it really worth paying off debt well into your 30’s or even 40’s? Shockingly, some people have reached mid-life and still have student debt. Even more shocking, the growth rate of college tuition has outpaced medical care, housing prices, and even family incomes  by a wide margin.

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Education has also been significantly dumbed-down over the past several decades, where colleges have opted for student (customer) retention rather than true education. These students will suffer more when they enter the work force. It goes without saying that there are many degrees today that are useless, such as liberal arts and gender studies. Not as much emphasis is placed on the useful subjects that can benefit everyone, such as physics, math, chemistry, foreign languages, etc. In fact, if you look at the worldwide rankings you will see that the United States (despite spending among the most on education) isn’t even ranked in the top 10 in math, reading, or science.

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We’re below average in every fucking category. Isn’t that sad? People here in the United States like to boast about being the world’s superpower, but the only thing keeping us in that position is military power. It’s certainly not our education system. This doesn’t bode well for the young millennials like me, not to mention the forthcoming generations.

Some people like to go to college to “find themselves.” This never made any sense to me. Why waste 4 to 6 years and thousands of dollars discovering who you are? All it should take is a bit of introspection and confidence before putting things into action. Besides, some people tend to figure these kinds of things out faster than others. Not all of us want to waste our 20s dicking around.

Some guys choose the military route while others go to a trade school or go on the entrepreneurial route. But there are some guys out there that are still interested in obtaining a form of education before they do these things. For those men, there is some good news: knowledge is now more decentralized than it has ever been in human history. It is extremely easy to access the kind of information you want, and I have included a few recommendations:

Coursera.org is full of online courses from colleges around the world. Classes range from calculus and engineering to science and computer science; you are likely to find something worth your time. Once registered, you can start the class any time you want on your own schedule. When you are finished with a course, you get a certificate of recognition. Some courses may require you to have an understanding of a different subject before jumping in. You can’t be poor in math but jump into engineering.

Udacity.com is similar to Coursera; but focuses more on tech-minded subjects such as software engineering, artificial intelligence, and programming. Codecademy teaches how to code interactively. Like Coursera, you may have to go through a different course if you are rusty. For example, some understanding of statistics 101 are required for the introduction to artificial intelligence.

Duolingo, busuu, and yesjapan are for those interested in  learning foreign languages. The first link doesn’t have every language, but is good for those wanting to start Spanish, German, French, Italian, etc. If you live in the United States I would consider learning some Spanish for the sake of practicality, since it’s becoming more important in our daily lives. The second link, Bsuu.com, has certain languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic which aren’t available on Duolingo. The third link (YesJapan) is focused solely on Japanese.

If you live near a library, you can also avail yourself of the books and other possible learning tools there. Lastly, youtube and other sites allow us to take advantage of free lectures. The best part about all these websites is that they are organized, helpful, and free. By simply applying yourself and spending time on self-directed learning, you will find yourself with an education that far surpasses those who opt to spend tens of thousands of dollars at a degree mill.

Read More: Take College Courses Online For Free