Halloween seems like the perfect time to post about the college selection process and the aftermath of the decision.  High school seniors are busy completing their final applications and soon they will know where they will spend the next four years of their lives.  Let me rephrase, hopefully spend the next four years of their lives.

I recently came across two articles that captured my attention.  The first is about a college seniorthat ran out of money to pay her final year. The second is about a recent college graduate that works at Google and lives in the Google parking lot in his truck in order to pay off his student loans.  I find the extremes in attitude to be significant.

One accepts personal responsibility and will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal while the other seems caught between a feeling of entitlement and victimhood.  It is always instructive to look at extremes when making what is now arguably the most expensive decision of your life.

So to high school seniors and their parents, please take notice. This outcome, or some version of this outcome, could be you in a few years.


I would never want to put the blame of the college decision on optimistic families alone.  Colleges are in the business of selling their wares and they are very good at it.  Along with educators and our government, they’ve created this entire propaganda machine where students feel compelled to go to college and not an affordable community college but an expensive one.  In this season of masquerade, we see many colleges wearing their best disguises.

Many pretend to be places of higher education instead of harder education. They lure the unsuspecting and optimistic into a path of what ends up being the equivalent of a life of indentured servitude as once the student leaves many have limited skills and  so much debt they are incapable of living the lives their parents or grandparents led.  The propaganda machine is so strong that collectively, our country owes more money in student debt than we owe in credit card debt.

This is insane. It is the perfect storm of government promoting higher education instead of harder education, college as big business and student/parent optimism and naivete.  Put the three together, and we arrive at this point.

How do you answer, “Is college really worth it?” What can you do to make a wise decision? Be realistic, evaluate the costs and reputation of the college and most importantly be self-aware.  If you are an outstanding candidate, go to an outstanding college.  Otherwise, get a low cost education.  Recognize that a third rate major from and expensive fourth rate college does not translate into a first rate job and career.

Carlos Sera

Carlos Sera Founder of Sera Capital Management, LLC Co-Founder of Chicago Wealth Management, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor Speaker on Financial/Investment Planning Fluent in Spanish – First Generation Cuban/American Author of Financial Tales Blog Education Johns Hopkins University – BA – Natural Science – 1980 University of Rochester – MBA – Finance and Applied Economics – Honors – 1982 Find me on:  LinkedIn | Twitter

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