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I want to get an EA career, specifically AI alignment research, and I'm wondering if I should go to college. For context, I'm aiming to go to Georgia Tech.
Pros: Career capital/signaling. If it comes to it, I could get a different EA career or at least a high-paying one. Might be able to learn things quicker.

Cons: Costs a lot of money. Takes up a lot of time I could spend on more impactful things. I could probably learn everything by myself, so it's not strictly necessary for AI alignment research. Less time for my hobbies (drawing, music, writing, among others), which tend to take a lot of time.




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(All the normal caveats apply: I don’t know anything about your life circumstances, your preferences, your interests, your abilities, etc. i’m also making fairly broad assumptions about finances, and what kind of lifestyle you might want.)

Yes, you should go to college. There are a small number of situations for which makes sense for a person to not go to college. If you are the next Bill Gates, or if you already have considerable work experience and a strong network, or if you have some kind of a specialized skill and a clear plan for how you will support yourself financially, then consider not going to college. But (in expectation) attending college is one of the best things you can do for your lifetime earnings. I don’t recall specific studies, but I suspect it’s also very correlated with a variety in general life stability factors.

It does take a long time and it is expensive. You can mitigate some of that with scholarships and transferring credit from community college or from cheap online options (such as https://app.sophia.org, where you can take a lot of general ed classes).

It is also an incredible maturing experience, where you’ll meet lots of new people, many of whom will become strong, professional, contacts and/or lifelong friends. Many people meet romantic partners in college.

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