You’re an entrepreneur. You like to solve problems, create new ideas, and question why things are done the way they are. And “because that’s the way they’ve always been done” is never a good answer.
College doesn’t play well with students like you.
Once you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, college can seem more like a call to conform to a system rather than a free experience to learn and develop into the person you want to be.
But let me be clear: that doesn’t mean you should skip the whole college thing. You may not like the system, but college is a valuable tool for a young entrepreneur. My goal with this post is to help you better understand college and ensure you have the absolute best higher education experience possible.
I will also shamelessly plug our Unbound program at the end of this post. It has worked exceptionally well for thousands of entrepreneurial-minded students.
Why Universities Struggle to Meet the Needs of Entrepreneurial Students
Today’s college system is designed to educate mass groups of students and escort them into the general workforce.
However, entrepreneurs are anything but general.
From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, entrepreneurs are a unique group of proactive, creative, and inventive geniuses who usually have a hard time sitting still. I’ll never forget a story about my uncle who has been an entrepreneur for 40+ years. Back in the early days of his business, he would ride his bike 40 miles to the office every morning, just so he could endure sitting through business meetings.
This is why a lot of well known entrepreneurs were bad students, at least in the traditional sense.
Entrepreneurs want to go and do, but college wants you to sit and listen. Not easy when you have world-changing ideas to put into motion.
Another big clash between entrepreneurs and college is your natural drive to self educate.
You’re the very definition of a “self directed learner,” having either taught yourself or sought out mentors both digitally and in person. You thirst for knowledge, but not just any knowledge. You want to learn what’s interesting to you, what’s immediately applicable, what will help you solve your problems.
You’re not interested in being force fed information that is seemingly unrelated to your passion. Worse yet, you’re not interested in being force fed that information at the pace of the slowest student in class.
Dealing with the theoretical after having been elbow deep in the real world is hard for an entrepreneur to stomach. So the first two years of college (typically filled with general education courses) will be brutal for you unless you get creative and take a more direct and efficient path to earning your degree.
Entrepreneurs are also resource-savvy. You’re all about business-building, and that means finding the time and money to get started. Paying five figures to put your life on hold for four years doesn’t exactly sound exciting.
While the average student accepts college as “the best way” to get started in life, you see it as a constraint on your natural endeavours, and may be tempted to skip out all together.
Fortunately, there is a way to get the education and credentials without crushing your soul (or your big dreams).
The Solution: a Flexible, Customized College Experience
“College” doesn’t have to equal rote learning. You can turn this time into a valuable, transformative experience by building valuable skills, layering certifications on practical experience, and making the system work for you (instead of being worked by the system).
In order to do this, you need a plan that is fully customized to your unique goals, budget, timeframe, and interests. That’s where Unbound can help you. Unbound was started in a garage by 3 entrepreneurs like yourself who wanted to make a positive impact on the world. Over the last decade we’ve created the tools you need to customize your college experience. You can complete your degree as fast you want, work full time while enrolled full time, and generally mold your college experience around your goals and dreams.
“Earning my degree through the Unbound program has given me the freedom financially to not only be able to invest money in a small rental house and expand my business, but has also allowed me to spend extra time with the people that matter most in my life.”
- JORDAN F.
How to Customize Your College Experience
Here’s the shameless plug you’ve been waiting for. Don’t worry, while each of the concepts I’m about to talk about were purposefully designed as part of the Unbound program, you can still apply the wisdom of this section if you decide Unbound isn’t the best fit for you.
1. Find the resources you need
As a self-directed learner, the traditional classroom is likely the last place you want to find yourself. So don’t. Instead of registering for a preset list of arbitrary assignments, search for the right kinds of courses for you and your goals.
You can do this through the power of transfer credit. By choosing a college that accepts outside credit, you can take your college courses outside the system before enrolling. (You’ll just transfer all that credit into your college later!) This give you the freedom to study what you want, when you want, how you want.
This step does come with a warning: losing credit upon transfer is a big problem for thousands of students. That’s why you must do your research first to guarantee the courses you’re taking will transfer into your chosen college before you take them.
Our Unbound Academic Advisors help you do all of this by building you a customized college plan based on your goals. The coursework you take will meet your chosen degree requirements while allowing you to focus on topics that are of direct and immediate relevance to you and your goals.
2. Access the support you need
Finding flexible course options outside of a college system takes a lot of time. And you would probably prefer to spend that time growing your new business idea rather than figuring out what course you need to take next or whether you have credits to graduate on time.
That’s why we do that part for you. Your Unbound Success Coach will help you stay on track with your coursework while also allowing you the space you need to breathe.
It’s still your job to study, but it’s your coach’s job to help you stay on track. This allows you to devote every spare brain cell to more exciting projects.
3. Gain the financial freedom you need
You don’t need classroom-style hand holding, so why pay for it? Online classes, competency testing, and self-paced courses are just a few of the resources that become available to you by stepping outside the “traditional” college box. Not only are these options significantly less time intensive (meaning you have more time for your projects), they’re also significantly less expensive.
Choosing a non-traditional route to your bachelor’s degree frees you from the chain of student debt most college graduates are bound by. In fact, Unbound students often graduate for half the price of traditional college students. And 95% of them do it entirely debt free.
You’re an entrepreneur and that makes you unique. So why do college like everyone else?
Whether you decide to explore the Unbound program or choose to take these principles to alter your own college experience, college doesn’t have to hold you back. You have the opportunity to pursue your passions while getting your degree. You just need to capitalize on it. Fortunately, that’s what you do best.
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Andrew is currently the Marketing Director for Unbound. When he’s not at the office, you can find him traveling with his wife, riding his mountain bike, swimming in the Comel river, or reading at his favorite coffee shop/bakery.Read more by Andrew