Interesting post from Seth Godin today that makes this argument–the notion that graduating from college is the key to future success has existed for hundreds of years, and it's about to be exposed as a scam for several reasons.
1. With some notable exceptions, the educations offered by most colleges aren't really all that different from one another.
2. The price of colleges has risen much more than the pay increase you get from attending one has.
3. The public is about to realize that colleges can easily manipulate their rankings, so the rankings really don't mean anything.
4. The data shows that the famous, most selective schools aren't necessarily better than the others.
I'm not sure I'm ready to write off the value of attending college, but I am absolutely ready to say this.
Just being a college graduate is not special; lots of people do it with varying levels of post-college success. Just being there for four years doesn't guarantee you a better life. And just managing to get accepted to a school that rejects most applicants isn't a guarantee that the world is going to throw jobs and money at you.
It's what you do while you're in college that matters, not where you go. It's up to you to make your college years worth your time, money, and memories.