May 2, 2008 | | 5 Comments The debate is not a new one. Self-made entrepreneurs thumb their noses at their school-going counterparts, insisting that you can’t learn to be successful in school, that the really important lessons can only be gained through real-world experience. They will even go so far as to claim that education is just an unsubstantial stamp of approval with very little value behind it. To these lucky few, I would say the following… First, for every self-made millionaire who rejected higher education and hit the big time, there are thousands of other degree-less workers who will be forced to settle for low-paying, unsatisfying jobs for the rest of their careers. You see, the anti-college millionaire is the exception rather than the rule. Meanwhile, those others who decided to skip college find themselves under a very low glass ceiling. They make up the vast majority of those who skip higher education. Those who work while their peers go to school may find themselves making more initially. But the statistics plainly show that their degree-holding peers quickly and uniformly surpass them in pay and promotions. An old adage says, "Experience is the best teacher." Numerous other adages, however, say, "Learning from others’ experience is best of all." In essence, that is what higher education is, a collection of the experience, successes, and mistakes of the past. It gives students exposure to knowledge, concepts, and people that they would never have known otherwise. Beyond just career success, education imbues individuals with awareness beyond their day-to-day world. I believe this trait is called being well-rounded. Am I rejecting the value of real-world experience? Absolutely not. Experience is an invaluable companion to education, and it becomes proportionately more important as one’s career progresses. I am opposed, however, to those who would devalue education as a foundation for success. Common sense does not support their claims. The statistics certainly do not support their claims. Don’t kid yourself! School is the best way to build a foundation for the rest of your career. Of course, ultimate success will depend largely on how the individual chooses to perform after school. But there can be no denying that school is the best way to start.