Jailbreaking The College Degree

Written by Derek Janis

About 3 years ago, I dropped out of Brigham Young University to work on a startup. Since then, I’ve had mediocre success and about a year ago I decided to finish my degree, while continuing to work at a digital marketing firm.

This was a very hard decision for me. Though I hate to admit it, a college degree still has value. The startup world, however, is unstable: I need to have a backup plan to provide for the woman I love and our future family.

Although I am excited at the progress I have made, it’s become painfully obvious that the college degree system is broken. It annoys me beyond belief to be required to take a biology class when my passion is to build businesses. It makes no sense for me to be required to take a humanities course when I need to be learning how to develop relationships and expand my network.

While there are, of course, definite advantages to being well-rounded and cultured, I shouldn’t be forced to pay to take classes that employers won’t care less about — let me do those on my time, through the myriad of free platforms.

This is why I am so excited about Degreed, a startup that plans to “jailbreak” the degree and create the world’s first Lifelong Diploma. This diploma will allow students to present “everything they’ve learned, from any source, throughout their lives.” The education industry should allow learners to earn degrees by taking classes that they want to take.

This quote exists at the heart of Degreed’s campaign: “We choose to go to the moon [and do other things],” John F. Kennedy once said. “Not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

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