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“Where did you go to school?” asks best-selling author Seth Godin. In a recent blog post, the well-respected marketer suggests that the question really only matters for a short period of time.

Godin is known for his super-brief blog posts. He’s “old school” in that there aren’t any bells and whistles to his website. It’s a regular, old-fashioned blog—with just words. But, he understands his audience well and keeps everything short and sweet. Like his advice on how much importance you should place on where you go to college.

Putting Things Into Perspective

It’s human nature to heap a bunch of importance on whatever we are involved with at the time. Which means that making a decision about college and actually going to college will seem like it’s the biggest thing you’ve done so far. And it just might be.

In his blog post, Seth Godin challenges readers to project themselves 30 years into the future. “The campus you spent four years on 30 years ago,” he says, “makes very little contribution to the job you’re going to do.”

What he means by this is that what happens after high school—in terms of further education—may prepare you for a job, but it won’t be the reason why you have a job. “Here’s what matters,” Godin says. “The way you approach your work.”

The Apprenticeship Approach

Time jumping again: It’s 30 years from now. “What have you built?” Godin asks in his blog post. “What have you led? How do you make decisions?”

The four years you spend in college might arm you with some insight into how you can build, lead, and make decisions later on in your career. On the other hand, an apprenticeship offers you both education and on-the-job training.

You don’t graduate from an apprenticeship, and then take the next step of entering into the job force. You’ll finish your apprenticeship real-world experience of the career you decided to study for and undertake.

That’s a very different outcome compared to what waits for you when you graduate from college. People who decide to pursue a career in the trades are usually set to enter the job force after about two years in an apprenticeship program.

They’ve received training from experts and have a comfortable understanding of what it’s like to have a full-time job. Plumbers, electricians, and HVAC techs earn while they learn. So, not only are they ahead of the game in terms of real-world experience, they’re also considerably less in debt for the first-class education. They earn just as much—if not more—than a college graduate.

This definitely is in sync with what Seth Godin points out when he asks, “Where did you go to school?” It ultimately won’t matter. And there are alternatives to college that can help you move to what does matter, much faster.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the trades here.