Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Why College is Not the Road to Success for Blacks: Part II

Posted by Thomas on February 14, 2009

For those that were concerned, the reason why college is not the road to success for blacks (or any heritage for that matter) is because our definition of college is too narrow. It needs to be more than one obtaining a piece of paper. So, college ALONE is not the key to success, although it can be a part of the success plan.

Let’s pause…hey, this is a blog about Rites of Passage Programs for young black boys, why are we talking about college not equaling success, don’t we need more African American boys going to college? If we continue to stress to our sons that college alone is the key to success we do them a grave disservice because this is no longer true. So then, in order to guide our young men to responsible manhood we must impart the correct information to them in terms of proper education. Proper education is packaged in the Rites of Passage Program and acts as an extension to home-training.

This broader view of education needed to achieve success looks like this:

  1. Know yourself and define your success; because success means different things to different people. Don’t settle for someone else’s definition of success.
  2. Go to college. I repeat, go to college. Fathers, impress upon your sons that they must go to college. Here’s the switch, you can’t just get a Bachelor’s degree (some say it is equivalent to a high school diploma in the job market), you need a Master’s degree (which is becoming more commonplace) or higher. You can’t just get a generalized college education; specialize and broaden your possibilities by getting certificate(s) in things that interest you, which can potentially lead to professional opportunities later. Obtaining certificate(s) broadens your educational experience beyond a degree.
  3. Use college to enrich your life experiences. Volunteer, do internships, if you get the chance to intern abroad while in college do it. Learn a second language. Don’t settle for just book-learning—you must get world-educated in order to be successful.
  4. Learn to network; become accustomed to mingling with different nationalities. Networking is a mainstay in business.
  5. Commit to being a lifelong learner. Your education doesn’t stop when you exit college.

In other words treat college as the gateway to bigger experiences—not as the end-of-my-schooling phase of life. Use it to expand your personal borders. Through that expansion success is found. It all starts with self and continues with taking advantage of every opportunity presented to you.

College alone will not lead to success but is a part of the overall success package. Share this post with young men in your life tell them to start thinking globally.

Read Why College is Not the Road to Success for Blacks: Part I


2 Responses to “Why College is Not the Road to Success for Blacks: Part II”

  1. As a black man who grew up in the ghetto as a smart kid, education offered hope, hope that one day I wouldn’t be the only smart person wherever I went, hope that I could be who I am and not have to change how I act, particularly toward education, in order to be accepted, and hope that one day I would be able to leave the ghetto and never look back and never again have to be around the type of people who made growing up hell instead of the fun it should be.

    Therefore I feel betrayed by employers that after following the path that was supposed to lead me out of the ghetto and into a life of my own choosing, they failed to hold up their end of the bargain by offering me a job that I worked hard to become qualified for, a job that I expected to get, and gave me the motivation to continue in school and avoid gangs and drugs and other bad behavior.

    I actually put in effort to remove myself from the environment I grew up in, only to still be stuck here, surrounded by people who have never even tried to better themselves. When is my hard work going to pay off?

  2. Keith said

    I hear you. That’s sound advice. Looking a the title I got a little nervous though. 🙂

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