There’s no definite ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to this.
Yes, we have heard stories of successful leaders and entrepreneurs who were/are at the very top in their field. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Oprah Winfrey are possibly the most popular names who either never went to the college or dropped their formal education. But there are also many names that did attend college and changed the world.
Sadly, some people romanticize with the idea of “college dropout” too much these days that they completely overlook the large population of the mentioned latter group. But there are also few of those who synonym ‘formal education’ with higher knowledge and intelligence; they over-prioritize the idea of going to college just to blend in the conventional crowd; they seek qualifications more than the real knowledge.
A research found that 94 percent of top selected U.S. leaders attended college.
We also need to consider the role that internet is playing today in our lives. Free courses are available in abundance for people who really want to learn.
So, to answer this question, if going to college is a waste of time and money, IT REALLY DEPENDS ON INDIVIDUAL CASES. If you want to be a doctor, yes it is very much important. But if you want to make hospitals and take other such initiatives, it is not “mandatory” as some people may have had you believe.
If you’re just looking to make money (with the right and reputed means), college education is not essential. But if you’re looking to bag jobs in the likes of Google and Microsoft, you have to be a college graduate. (Google, btw, do hire people who have not gone to the college; hinting that the top employers are shifting their focus from obsessively-prioritizing formal education and GPAs to real intelligence, dedication, passion and emotional intelligence. )