We all know the stories and theories about entrepreneurs being poor students or dropping out of school.

Yes, Bill Gates dropped out of college and so did Mark Zuckerberg.

In fact, there are plenty of examples of mega successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of college.

But I don't think it's the norm, or should be the norm, especially in this day and age.

I am here to tell you that budding entrepreneurs certainly can benefit from a full college experience, and if you, yourself, attended and graduated college already, you have advantages. Here's 5 ways in which college is helpful to entrepreneurs:

1. Networking

With today's numerous social media choices in conjunction with the socializing that naturally happens on a college campus, long lasting networks are happening both more easily, and more frequently, for everyone.

Today students are closely connected to other students, and are communicating constantly with Snapchat and group messaging apps. And if you went to college already, I bet you have reconnected through social media with many from those days.

Don't forget that professors are involved as well. Teachers and students are connected closer than ever now thanks to social media and mobile communications.

Most feel nostalgic or loyal to our college days, and these connections, even if they fade over time are immediately rekindled with a reminiscent hello. Or even with a reaching-out inquiry for help or advice on an entrepreneurial project.

All of this creates a massive spider web of networks where advice, feedback, idea sharing, etc. can take place-- just because you went to college.

2. Exposure to General Education Courses

Most all universities and colleges have general education requirements, and surely this is beneficial to entrepreneurs.

Classes in an array of subjects from philosophy to computer science to modern languages, make us well rounded, and stimulates the imagination.

Exposure to the arts and sciences, and explorations of a multitude of different subjects line your brain with fodder for even more exploration and ingenuity.

3. Research Fundamentals

Research skills are refined in college. Learning by doing research can be crucial to an entrepreneur's future pursuits. The sheer practice of performing primary and secondary research in college benefits entrepreneurs long term. You learn to research more effectively and efficiently.

To illustrate, at my university, the library sciences are offering workshops on Fake News, which they call the "CRAP" workshop. Certainly, with the vast amount of blogs, articles, and news feeds available today, being able to identify valid and topical sources is a huge deal. Entrepreneurs can benefit with this kind of educational experience-- the proper way to research and find authentic data and information for a bevy of needs, such as market analysis, sales forecasting, competitive analysis, and on and on.

4. Social Skills

Let's face it, college is great social skill practice. At the party, in the lab, in your dating life, in the classroom, and even at the college town bars, honing social skills helps you mature, develop, and become seasoned in interpersonal interaction.

Entrepreneurs need to socialize-- they need to reach out-- they need to be able to explain their ideas-- they need interpersonal skills to make entrepreneurial dreams happen.

5. Depth of a Major of Study

Entrepreneurs need to deeply immerse themselves in their startups and ideas.

Having a deep, deep depth of knowledge is critical. College major study is a great precursor to this activity.

Diving into your mechanical engineering or psychology major's upper-level areas of study are a great experience for entrepreneurs. No matter your major of study, researching, exploring, analyzing in-depth your content area will benefit your pursuit of an entrepreneurial endeavor.

Okay, so Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college and obviously, they never looked back and became wildly successful entrepreneurs.

But for those up and comers chasing an entrepreneurial dream, or those who already graduated college, in my humble opinion-- you have many advantages that will benefit you for long term entrepreneurial success.

Published on: Oct 5, 2017