Woman Says College Is A 'Scam' Kids Have Been 'Brainwashed' Into & Tells High Schoolers To 'Stop Going' — 'You're Setting Your Life Up To Be Disastrous'

Provocative as her statement is, experts say she's not entirely wrong.

Tiktoker saying college is a 'scam' TikTok

We've all heard it over and over again—going to college to get a degree, any degree, is the only way to get a decent job and get ahead in today's job market. But the economic realities of job insecurity and student loans has lots of people feeling skeptical, and one woman online is among them.

A woman on TikTok says college is a 'scam' and high schoolers should 'stop going.'

That's certainly a bold claim, especially in a country where even entry-level jobs require at least a bachelor's degree—and often want a master's. But while TikTok user @anaxjade's hot take on the topic is definitely provocative, it's hard to argue that she doesn't at least somewhat have a point when she says the ends don't justify the means for the vast majority of students.




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She urged young people not to go into debt just to get a generalized college degree.

"If you're going to college and you're getting in debt for a general degree, stop," said Ra'ana. She urged students to be more thoughtful about their education and to have a plan for their careers before making the financial commitment to attend. "Y'all need to do a couple hours of research on the degree that you're choosing, because you're going to go four years into debt."


She broke the decision down to one simple issue—what is a student actually going to get out of the massive student loan debt most college attendees are forced to take on?

"You need to ask yourself the main question, am I going into debt to invest in myself? If you're not asking that question, you already set your life up to be a little bit disastrous for you in the future," she warned.  "If that general degree can't get you a high-paying job, then what did you go into high debt for?"

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Ra'ana says that young people have been 'brainwashed' into thinking they must go to college to succeed. 

"I'm sorry, I hate to say it—we got to stop taking advice from people and even our parents if they're not in situations that we want to be in," Ra'ana said, cautioning young people to ensure they're taking advice on their college plans from informed people.


"If the people that's giving you advice is not living the life that you want, I advise you not to listen. If you want a life that's different from everybody that's surrounded by you, you have to figure that out."

She went on to say that for all too many young people the decision to go to college boils down to a perception that it's simply the only acceptable option. "One thing people need to stop doing...going to college specifically because your parents told you to or your teacher told you to, because they say that's the next step in your life after high school."

Ra'ana called this notion nonsense based on a false notion of meritocracy that underpins legends like "the American Dream"—that anyone can succeed if they work hard enough and do the right things.

"There is no next step to life, a general step to life everyone takes," she said. "If that were the case, there would be no difference between millionaires and homeless people."


She again cautioned students to think very carefully about the nuts and bolts of their life decisions. "If you're in college or you're thinking about going, the main question you need to ask yourself—what are my financial and personal growth goals for the future, and how can I achieve them most efficiently? Meaning maximum results with minimum wasted effort and expenses."

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Data shows that high-paying trade and industrial jobs can't find workers, while the value of a college degree continues to decline.

Ra'ana's take certainly doesn't fit with our established orthodoxies, and it remains a fact that for so-called "white-collar" jobs, a degree is essential. But the data shows that the real value of a college degree is steadily falling when weighed against wages, and if a good income is the goal, the high pay is found in trades and other "blue collar" work—jobs that are suffering from a staggering labor shortage.

According to the federal government's most recent statistics, median wages among bachelor's degree holders fell between 2010 and 2018, the most recent year the statistics were compiled. And with 66% of undergraduate students taking out federal student loans to get those bachelor's degrees—more than 5 million of which are now in default because of their inability to pay—that decline in value is alarming.


Meanwhile, some 90% of construction jobs sit unfilled nationwide, while the US is facing a dire-and-worsening shortage of electricians, plumbers and carpenters—jobs that routinely pay much higher salaries than many office jobs available to young people, often with better benefits and job security due to the influence of trade unions in those fields. And while many of those jobs do require training or certification, the education costs are a fraction of the cost of getting a college degree

Of course, trade and industrial jobs are not for everyone. But until the United States does away with its absurdly expensive, predatory higher education system and lack of adequate employee protections—to say nothing of the way AI is threatening to upend the non-manual workforce—it's getting harder and harder to make the case that a college degree is the only or even the best way to go for young people. 


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.