College dropouts who rule the world are rare exceptions – not the rule…

An important reminder from Jonathan Wai (Research Scientist, Duke University) and Heiner Rindermann (Professor of Educational and Developmental Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology).

Media may glamorize college dropouts who were successful indicating college does not matter. But reality is most successful people have degrees:

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was asked to give this year’s commencement address at Harvard, he asked for advice from Bill Gates. Zuckerberg said, “They know we didn’t actually graduate, right?” To which Gates replied, “Oh, that is the best part! They actually give you a degree!”

This recent exchange between two famous Harvard dropouts might lead you to think college doesn’t matter. Numerous media stories and even famous billionaires are glamorizing dropouts or encouraging kids to skip college entirely.

While it’s true there are successful college dropouts, statistically speaking, they are not the norm. As researchers in education and talent, we found that the vast majority of the country’s success stories are college graduates, such as Sheryl Sandberg (Harvard), Jeff Bezos (Princeton) and Marissa Mayer (Stanford).

Actually we don’t realise most dropouts had basic education and the skills to succeed in this world. Their college degree would have also agreed to the same. We usually think of dropouts as people who never cared for studies etc which is just plain wrong. They could actually be more widely read than those who competed degrees.

Like a good friend put on his status on his social network page: “Went to college but can’t claim to be educated”. These guys went to college and may not have completed the same, but they were educated.

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