5 reasons to replace college with travel and self-directed learning
Blake Boles wants you to consider something controversial.The idea of taking a gap year between high school and college is no longer revolutionary. The logic is simple: You’ve already spent 12 years in a classroom, so why not take a break before jumping back in? Pack that gap year full of travel, work, networking, reading, and writing, and you’ll undoubtedly make better use of your time in college. The idea of skipping college altogether, however, is still highly controversial. Over the past few years, eloquent arguments have appeared almost weekly both for and against the proposal. For budding entrepreneurs and techies, there are innovative programs like Enstitute, the Thiel Fellowship, and Dev Bootcamp. But for the rest of us — those who enter 4-year liberal arts programs with high hopes of gaining some direction, enlightenment, and new friends — the biggest problem is that there don’t seem to be any viable, worthwhile alternatives to the college experience. This is where self-directed learning — the type of learning that a gap year emphasizes — offers a compelling opportunity. When you do self-directed learning, you take a self-organized and self-motivated approach to education. You follow no pre-structured curriculum — therefore, you possess the freedom to learn in a style that fits you, seek out the best mentors and courses you can find, and pursue your quirky, individual goals. And you’re not alone in the journey: A growing community of young people are taking the self-directed path. Here are 5 reasons why full-time, self-directed learning (and a healthy dose of gap year-style travel) offers a respectable alternative to the traditional four-year college route.