Update: The Book Has Launched!
Visit www.better-than-college.com to learn more and order a copy!
Now, back to the original campaign text:
Hi everyone! Below you'll find a detailed description of my project. If you're short on time, please read "In a Nutshell" and then jump between bolded sections. Thank you! -Blake
***Also, don't miss the "Updates" tab (above) to find important news!***
In a Nutshell...
Hi, I'm Blake. I've written an awesome book manuscript (here's an excerpt) that provides a genuine alternative to the overpriced college experience—but I need your help to publish it.
In a nutshell, this fundraiser will help me to create a top-notch book and help you get a great pre-order deal! I will directly invest the money that I raise in the editing, design, printing, and other up-front costs necessary to bring the book to life.
When you contribute to this campaign, you'll receive a package of unique "perks." (You can browse these on the right). Most of these will only be available through IndieGoGo! Find a package that you like, click "Claim This Perk," and in a few months, when the book is published, I'll send you the perks. Easy!
Beyond the perks, however, your contribution will fuel the spread of a vitally important idea: That you can build a successful life without a four-year degree. Too many people believe that "college=success" and therefore everyone should take out $20,000+ in student loans. We must change that idea—and together, we will.
To learn more about the book, please continue reading below.
Why is College Overrated?
Once, a long long time ago, a 4-year college degree guaranteed a stable economic future.
Today, a 4-year degree offers $25,000 in student loan debt, a spot on mom’s couch, and your very own place in the Craigslist breadline.
If you're supremely confident that you'd like to enter a licensed profession (doctor, lawyer, etc.), do Ph.D.-level research science, or work for a big traditional institution (e.g. an investment bank or the government), then you should go to the best college that you can get into.
But if, on the other hand:
- you suspect that becoming a doctor, lawyer, architect, scientist, professor, or banker is really somebody else’s goal for you,
- you’re interested in the liberal arts, studio art, technology, starting your own business, or working with your hands,
- you suspect that you haven’t seen enough of the world to really focus in college,
- you’re mostly interested in the social aspect of college,
- or you’re simply unsure about everything,
...then postponing, leaving, or skipping college might be the best thing you ever do.
We've heard a lot of these arguments over the past few years. It's easy to find an article or book that (rightly) criticizes college. But:
There's no book that provides a concrete alternative path for young adults facing the college decision right now.
To make a smart decision about going to college (and taking on life-crushing student loans), young adults need a genuine alternative to college: one that provides real-world skills, financial security, and a sense of meaning. That alternative already exists, but no one has described it well. That's where you & I come in.
Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree is a step-by-step guide to postponing, leaving, or skipping college. The book describes how to harness the power of self-directed learning to give yourself a higher education in five strategic steps:
- Build Self-Knowledge
- Give Yourself Assignments
- Create & Share Value
- Find Support
- Market Yourself
Better Than College also features:
- interviews with young adults (many of whom unschooled as teens) who deliberately decided to skip college in favor of self-directed learning
- a discussion of the modern economic trends that demand a self-directed, entrepreneurial approach to learning
- guidance for getting hired without a college degree
- tons of specific advice and tips for beginning your self-directed higher education today
The book will be lean (< 150 pages)—no fluff—and focus exclusively on providing young people (and those of any age) with the most useful, practical, and well-reasoned insight for choosing self-directed learning over institutional education.
To get a taste for the book, check out this excerpt from the preface!
What I Have, What I Need, and Where the Money Will Go
As of February 2012, I have:
For almost a decade, I've dedicated my life toward building solutions in alternative education. You can learn more about my work on BlakeBoles.com, but here are the relevant highlights:
- I'm the author of College Without High School (2009, New Society Publishers).
- I'm the founder and director of Unschool Adventures, an international trip leading company for teenage unschoolers.
- In late 2010 I started a blog called Zero Tuition College to explore the strategies that would eventually become this book.
- In May 2011 I raised $2300 on IndieGoGo to build the Zero Tuition College community website: the first-ever social network for college-level self-directed learners. It currently has over 500 members, and we're planning a major overhaul next month.
- I'm an avid backpacker, trail runner, and international traveler. But most of all, I love working with young adult self-directed learners. Check out my 2011—it was a bit crazy, packed with all of the above.
Other Ways You Can Participate
If you agree with this book's vision, I'd love your help in spreading the word! Please use the "Share" tools at the top of this page to tell your online communities about the campaign.
Even if you can't contribute right now, telling just a few friends about this campaign will help immensely!
If you would like to arrange a custom perk package that you don't see listed, please e-mail me and we'll work something out: email@example.com.
Finally, when you contribute, please click "Receive emails with updates from the campaign owner"—I'll be posting excerpts, videos, and more cool stuff through the IndieGoGo "Updates" feature.
Thanks for reading, and together let's change higher education.
Author & Organizer