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Skipping college to succeed

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Visits Computer Scien
In this 2011 file photograph, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks to reporters at Harvard University during a recruiting visit.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Holding up the examples of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, some college or soon-to-be college students are skipping the traditional higher education path and forging their own. What do some of these higher education alternatives look like? Is this a possibility for all or for a select few?

From The New York Times:

The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to "hacking" higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick. 

Risky? Perhaps. But it worked for the founders of Twitter, Tumblr and a little company known as Apple.

Jim O'Neill, co-founder of the "20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship," will join The Daily Circuit Friday, Dec. 28 to talk about alternatives to college. Blake Boles, author of "Better than College" and owner of Unschool Adventures, the travel company for self-directed teens, will also join the discussion.

READ MORE ABOUT SAYING NO TO COLLEGE:

How to build a successful life without a four-year degree (Huffington Post)

Do you really need to go to college? (Forbes)

Calling all (very) young entrepreneurs: Applications open for Peter Thiel's 2013 '20 Under 20′ Fellowships (Tech Crunch)

Don't encourage students to skip college (New York Times)

Saying no to college: A response (Inside Higher Ed)