49 replies
Evening everyone.

Just curious, I am sure you see that your position requires a Bachelors Degree or something similar.

Just wondering if you all just provide proof that it isn't needed or do you have a writing/marketing degree?

Thanks in advance

Ethan.
#avoiding #degree
  • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
    Most of the copywriters in this forum are freelancers, as far as I know. Your degree or lack of one is mostly irrelevant. Clients care whether you can do the job or not, and get results.

    If you're talking about job postings for agencies or other in-house copywriting jobs, then they usually say they want you to have a degree. If you don't have a degree I don't recommend lying about it, but I bet if you can find a way to convince them that you can do the job, they probably won't be too concerned about your college history.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by Ken Strong View Post

      If you don't have a degree I don't recommend lying about it, but I bet if you can find a way to convince them that you can do the job, they probably won't be too concerned about your college history.
      Probably not. Companies that require degrees are very strict about it. No degree, no consideration.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Probably not. Companies that require degrees are very strict about it. No degree, no consideration.

        Alex
        I was an IT Recruiter, and let me tell you, this is 100% false. Even in a field where degrees are generally "required" such as in IT, you can still get by without it. They're just considered a nice-to-have so to speak, and if you have one, they'll pay you a little bit extra... I guess to help with all the student debts. lol
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
          Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, this thread is from last March and the guy who started it hasn't been around for quite a while.
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          • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
            Originally Posted by Ken Strong View Post

            Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, this thread is from last March and the guy who started it hasn't been around for quite a while.

            Ah, good call... looks like Ansar Pasha grave-dug it... But I won't point out anyone's name.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Probably not. Companies that require degrees are very strict about it. No degree, no consideration.

          Alex
          Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

          I was an IT Recruiter, and let me tell you, this is 100% false. Even in a field where degrees are generally "required" such as in IT, you can still get by without it. They're just considered a nice-to-have so to speak, and if you have one, they'll pay you a little bit extra... I guess to help with all the student debts. lol
          100% false, eh?

          Let's see... you were active in one industry. One out of hundreds. And yet you claim that my statement is 100% false.

          Interesting.

          Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            100% false, eh?

            Let's see... you were active in one industry. One out of hundreds. And yet you claim that my statement is 100% false.

            Interesting.

            Alex
            I used to work as a webmaster at PricewaterhouseCoopers and was there for three years. I had a colleague of mine who was as far as I was concerned - amazingly talented in database development. I assumed he had a degree when one day he let rip that he had no education other than basic high school qualifications and that he was self-taught.

            He got into the industry by going through an apprenticeship scheme and they were amazed by his work, so kept him on.

            My sister in law is a health consultant and consults with the NHS on the board of Directors...and did a Masters degree on the job, after having 4 kids and working with the NHS from a low-level position for more than 10 years. She basically worked her way up, self-studied, skipped the degree bit and got a Master in Health. She is now considering a PhD and we all laugh at her - because she failed everything at school.

            But, people who meet her are shocked when they realize her background and amazed at her competence and confidence at doing her job.

            Although rare in the corporate world, there are people who work by the merit of their own skills. Yes, people with a degree usually do really well, and yes they can get excellent graduate jobs, but sometimes a rare individual will come along who outshines in all areas and are taught on the job or are self taught. For whatever reason they don't have a formal education, but do have a burning desire to learn.

            I respect people in this position immensely - more so because I know how hard it is to self-study at University, but to do so at home with no one guiding you is actually pretty amazing.
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  • Profile picture of the author edwink
    If degrees meant everything Bill Gates would have never been the chairman of Microsoft.

    What matters is what you can do, not what you have read.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmiralGloom
    Thanks for the info guys!

    I just wasn't sure if it was something that came up in conversation if you are applying for the position...but I am kind of realizing now that alot of full timers work with return customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross James
    Let's take it back to the 50's where Napoleon Hill a very well educated man suggests that an education is not required to unlock the belief that: whatever your mind can conceive and believe your mind can achieve, in any area of your life. I suggest you find his book and read it because it has changed a lot of peoples lives. I would also suggests you find whatever excellence you seek and master it until you are fully unconsciously competent with it. Obviously that's copywriting so university or not you've got some work to do. Best of luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdmiralGloom
      Originally Posted by Ross James View Post

      Let's take it back to the 50's where Napoleon Hill a very well educated man suggests that an education is not required to unlock the belief that whatever your mind can conceive and believe your mind can achieve, in any area of your life. I suggest you find his book and read it because it has changed a lot of peoples lives. I would also suggests you find whatever excellence you seek and master it until you are fully unconsciously competent with it. Obviously that's copywriting so university or not you've got some work to do. Best of luck.

      Thanks Ross. Some true words of wisdom. I will take a look for his book on Amazon
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross James
    John Carlton talks a bit about hill . You'll love the book - it came after eliciting information from 500 of the most successful entrepreneurs at the time. It really is a great read. Look for think and grow rich with peace of mind - I think that's the one where it goes into detail a bit more
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    • Profile picture of the author kettti
      HI degree is just a piece of paper and nothing,, that is important what you can do.. if you are working in some company than nobody would ask about your degree they ll see your work, your efficiency and thats all...
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross James
        Originally Posted by kettti View Post

        HI degree is just a piece of paper and nothing,, that is important what you can do.. if you are working in some company than nobody would ask about your degree they ll see your work, your efficiency and thats all...
        It's more than a piece of paper... It's a positioning strategy :p ... But more than that - college did teach me a couple things like: how to manage my time, alcohol and ... Ya get my point... College isn't necessarily evil, it's just not for everyone and if I knew then what I know now about myself... I would have just kept the partying.
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      • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
        Originally Posted by kettti View Post

        HI degree is just a piece of paper and nothing,, that is important what you can do.. if you are working in some company than nobody would ask about your degree they ll see your work, your efficiency and thats all...
        As Ross said, a degree is far more than a piece of paper, and would be better likened to a key. It can open doors, but what happens after that is dependent on your attitudes and the results you produce.

        And some doors are better opened with a high GPA whiles others are better opened with a B/C GPA. In my experience, entrepreneurs and go-getters are more likely to have the B/C GPA ... or drop out .

        Marvin
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          I will take a look for his book on Amazon
          Think and Grow Rich was published in 1937 and is public domain - you don't need to buy a copy. Lots of links for it online.
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      • Profile picture of the author txconx
        Originally Posted by kettti View Post

        HI degree is just a piece of paper and nothing,, that is important what you can do.. if you are working in some company than nobody would ask about your degree they ll see your work, your efficiency and thats all...
        Those of us who have paid for college educations (our own, and/or our children's) beg to differ.

        Do you know why Starbucks pays baristas more if they have a college degree?

        Among other things, it demonstrates a commitment to LEARNING (not getting a job - if you want to get a job, go to vocational school) and the ability to FINISH something (i.e., a large project). There are many, many reasons to get a college degree that go far beyond just getting a job.

        Some of the dumbest people I worked with had college degrees. Having one doesn't mean someone is smart - it means they worked hard and stuck through to the end.
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        • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
          I have a degree. It's not required for what I do.

          I am considering getting a masters and perhaps a Phd - which
          would open doors which are closed to those without one.

          Beyond the idea that the higher your degree the more money
          you'll make on average (we aren't average here so it kinda
          doesn't count), if you wanted to, for instance, go into super
          high-end corporate consulting you'd find without a Phd nobody
          in the far east will hire you.

          Can you make it in life without a college education? sure -
          you might even finish rich or something. The odds, however
          tend to run against it.

          If you start and run your own business, lack of formal education
          can be downplayed or nullified in your marketing activity - indeed
          Phd's can be hired to do work that required their skills or
          academic credibility. If you run your own show it really comes
          down to who closes the sales (you do).

          Egghead academics aren't trained to close sales. That is a
          different skill, and one which, if mastered, outpays academia
          in dollars if not intellectual richness.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross James
    Of course, I can't dismiss you premise. The tools and technology of university will garner the "Specialized Knowledege" you're referring to... The REAL MAGIC comes from your beliefs and napoleon suggests that it's not required that you have an education to be successful in what you want to achieve in life.
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  • Profile picture of the author Oxbloom
    Just need to clarify, since you did say, "applying for the position."

    If you're trying to woo a client, that's one thing.

    But if you're applying for some kind of position, a lot depends on the gatekeeper. Ideally, if you're good enough to sell in print, you'll be good enough to sell yourself. But the real world isn't always ideal. Sometimes, the people who make actual hiring decisions have preconceptions that all the salesmanship in the world aren't going to break down. One of those may well be, "only hire people with degrees."

    It is what it is. There are plenty of positions where that won't be the case, and there's plenty of work that doesn't require a "position" in the first place.

    I'm only saying, don't be shocked or disappointed if you run into one or two if the "no degree, no job" types while you're looking, if applying for agency positions and such is your heart's desire.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmiralGloom
    I really happy this thread got active. Some very useful information.

    I appreciate all the input, and once again all the references to check out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiguy
    I have a degree but i've never been asked to show it or submit.
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    • Profile picture of the author Henry White
      Originally Posted by Affiguy View Post

      I have a degree but i've never been asked to show it or submit.
      Amazing, isn't it? They hype college so much that students start obsessing before they even graduate from high school about their children getting a college education!

      Then to add insult to injury for all those years of stress and sacrifice, you may or may not be asked by the HR dude where you went to college - and then spells it out, in case you missed it, that he's only asking because of sports, not academics!

      Even worse, several recent studies indicate that college graduates really don't learn much - certainly not for the six-figure debt.

      Of course, it's an individual thing. I think we all know people who are way smarter than you would otherwise think with a limited education; and, if you're honest, at least as many who have advanced degrees and can barely balance their checkbook - if that.
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  • Profile picture of the author alsoforum
    Just wondering if you all just provide proof that it isn't needed or do you have a writing/marketing degree?
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    • Profile picture of the author mindmarketing
      I'd like to point out the difference between having a degree and being educated.

      I have met college graduates who were borderline incompetent.

      Also met a man who knew so much about Industrial Engineering you'd think he had a M.S. although he only had an 8th grade education.

      My point is that an education is far more than a piece of paper. Master your craft, with or without a college degree.

      Success comes to those who take it.
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  • Profile picture of the author aaron56
    A degree is not just a piece of paper. I can't imagine someone saying to their open heart surgeon "It's okay if you don't have a degree, that's just a piece of paper."

    As for copywriting, start freelancing. If you're good, people will call you for repeat sales and recommend you to their friends.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
      Originally Posted by aaron56 View Post

      A degree is not just a piece of paper. I can't imagine someone saying to their open heart surgeon "It's okay if you don't have a degree, that's just a piece of paper."
      For some reason I was reminded of a Denny Hatch column from a few months ago:

      "What do you do?" a guy at a cocktail party was asked.
      "I'm a brain surgeon," was the reply. "What do you do?"

      "I'm a writer."

      "Ah," said the brain surgeon. "I've often thought that when I retire I'd like to try some writing."

      "And when I retire," said the writer, "I plan try a little brain surgery."
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Halbert
    Anyone else recall the television interview with Bill Gates on this subject?

    When asked who he would hire between a fresh 7yr. university graduate with a bachelor in computer science or a hacker who has been hacking in his basement for the equal amount of time. Bill Gates responded, " I will take the hacker because the graduate is 7 years behind."

    ...funny thing...I was just talking about this very subject via a conversation with Doberman Dan the other day. He agreed with me that degrees and diplomas mean nothing. What matters is your ability to produce results.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    I never got a degree because I never planned on working for someone else for the rest of my life. However, now that I think about it, it might not be such a bad idea.

    It's not the money or "prestige" that interests me... but proving to myself I can get in if I wanted. Moving overseas to Oz (from NZ) a little while back messed with my "credits" which you need for uni courses. I didn't have an extra year to spend in books, theorizing about sh*t when I wanted to get in the real world already.

    Now that my business is rolling along nicely and I can see good progress, I might spend a few years on a degree and work on my business on the side... a little leverage can go a long way.

    Anyway, I don't want to rant on college or academia because I respect people who have that much patience and can stick to one thing for that long... lol...

    Ansar
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  • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
    I went to two universities, not one and loved learning - and I always did well academically. I don't need the degrees to do what I do now, but one thing I did learn from going to University was the ability to focus yourself and push yourself to learn.

    As a copywriter, we are learning all the time and constantly need to read, understand and digest information to sharpen our craft. That's no mean feat - although it's not for everyone. I know someone who wanted to become a copywriter because of the money. As soon as she realized that it meant lots of self-study, she dropped the idea completely and is now doing beauty therapy - and she is a lot happier.


    Some people aren't meant to be academic, but they can easily excel in other areas.
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  • Profile picture of the author Flyingpig7
    Going to college is actually excellent training for IM . Now what do I mean by that..

    You don't have to have the degree but gaining the discipline of working on your own; motivating yourself , finding information (in the library and elsewhere).
    There is an awful lot of teaching yourself . Of course it's better if you team up in a small group of other students to work on a project.
    Being organized for deadlines doing things we don't like or finding someone else to help us out who are better in those other things, the snergy and sharing of skills.

    These are all qualities we need here for running our own online businesses.
    Of course a piece of paper is not necessary....
    However in my personal experience I had never used a computer before or done programming or any other business stuff like use databases, spreadsheets etc... if I had not done my degree many years ago. (Yes I've got an honours degree and am proud of the hard work it took to achieve it so I do bridle a little bit when others can be a little dismissive of that piece of paper...no offence needs to be said).

    So yes in answer to the OP question it can be helpful, not necessary but helpful depends on the subject I suppose and what you propose to do with it. Mine was a Business degree so it has proved some help to me.

    I have met many others who have become successful without one but when you question them a little more closely you find that they possess many of the above qualities already.

    Hope this thread gives you some food for thought.

    Keren
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      I have two college degrees, although I rarely use either one as a copywriter.

      I say rarely because there have been times where I'm approached about doing a health-related project and my two health degrees (and my heath-related professional experience) become a strong selling point in hiring me over another copywriter with similar strong skills.

      Personally, I'm glad I spent the time getting those degrees. The "going away to college" experience was great but it wasn't the only things I gained from college.

      1. I learned how to handle multiple courses with piles of information to study and learn. The volume of information I regularly read for client projects, managing my investments, and running my own info-product business is amazing to me... but college taught me how to do it in managable daily chunks.

      2. I learned how to prioritize responsiblities and tasks so that I wouldn't blow any course deadlines. As a copywriter, client deadlines are pretty important to consistently meet.

      3. I learned how to become more displined and focused (although studying martial arts were a tremendous help as well).

      4. I met one of my best friends. We've been friends for over 20 years now... even better, he introduced me to my wife almost 10 years ago. My wife jokingly says that he gets the credit or blame for it, depending on the type of day we're having as a couple.

      In this economy, I have seen friends of mine get laid off. The ones who did not have a degree have had a much harder time finding a new job. One of my un-degreed friends has been unemployed for 2 years now. He's talking about going to technical school to get an associate degree so that he can get a job in the electronics/technology repair industry.

      In terms of potential clients asking for a degree... my guess is they're using it as part of a filter to find the right potential copywriter for their business. But the majority of clients are far more worried about a copywriter's ability to write copy that sells their product than their educational background.

      Take care,

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Myself, I don't have a degree not even one qualification, nothing, nada, zilch.

        Sure, I would have loved to have gone to university when I was younger many years ago but it was off limits, as was all further education.

        We were all taught in-house. And very comprehensively at that. A hell of a lot of cockeyed knowledge which I naturally rebelled against (you know me) but having said that, one hec of a lot of useful stuff too. And I mean pushed as in really mentally pushed to our limits.

        The choice of further education or university was out of my hands, I had no choice in the issue from birth. It was just the way it was and still is to this day for others growing up similarly to my own rather shall we say, odd upbringing.

        Yes, it's closed doors on me in the past as people simply don't understand the background but then... as soon as I open my mouth, I can pretty much wrap my head around even the most complicated subject matters with relative ease and extremely quickly.

        I've been called a genius on several occasions such is my incredible depth and breadth of knowledge on literally thousands of subjects. I don't say this to be big headed, it's just how it is.

        Curse or blessing... a bit of both maybe. It doesn't matter anyway, it's what is in your heart that counts the most. Intelligence is nothing with empathy and care for others.

        Being in business and the great university of life is what has given me the best degree. Boy oh boy have I made some absolutely right clanger mistakes over the years! But it's from these 'mistakes' that you learn the most. I must have done something right - I've run my own business for 30 years now since the age of 14.

        And being there at the deep end gives you far more of a real education I suspect than a university classroom environment any day of the week.

        I grew up with a guy for example, spent my entire childhood near enough with him. He like me was in the same position and left school with nothing to his name, he couldn't even read or write which I myself excelled at. Yet today he's a billionaire, not a millionaire, a billionaire. Yes I did say that correctly.

        A degree can only do so much. The rest is directly down to you and your attitude.

        Best,


        Pete
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  • Profile picture of the author David Chung
    The best thing I got from my liberal arts degree was a broadening of my perspective. You meet lots of different teachers and students from different backgrounds, and you're forced to study subjects that you wouldn't normally bother to read too much about on your own.

    Whether a degree is helpful or not depends on how you look at it. I graduated with the second highest grades in my class, but so what? Grades don't really help me much now. There are loads of other more useful things you could get out of college though. Things like learning to do research and working with others come in handy of course, but there are also things that people may not take into consideration.

    There's the ability to study the minds, hobbies, and trends of the "up and coming" crowd. You get a bit of instant rapport you can use when communicating with people who also had some experience with higher education. Most importantly (for me anyway) you get to study the teaching/learning styles and presentation skills of a great many teachers and fellow students.

    You see, what you're doing when you create information products and articles is EDUCATING people, and college gives you a LOT of examples of different teaching styles and techniques. You'll see the teachers who are immensely popular and learn how to hold your audience's interest. You attend immensely boring lectures and you learn how NOT to present information to people (if you're going to read directly off the Powerpoint slides I can just print them out and read them myself thank you very much). You get to see how different classmates learn and digest new information. And most likely you'll get the chance to do a few presentations of your own and practice your own presentation skills. All these are immensely helpful skills to have when you try to create your own 'educational courses' in the form of WSOs, video presentations, ebooks, membership sites and whatnot.

    So whether a degree is worth your time or not really depends on how you approach it.
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  • Profile picture of the author nycdude
    Anybody can learn copywriting from institutions such as AWAI. Results matter more than degrees.
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  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMonkey
    You can be a copywriter without a degree with quite alot of ease. I have a degree in a completely unrelated field and have learnt the necessary copywriting skills through a combination of research and trial and error. I would just recommend practicing writing in various styles and learning the formats and styles necessary for the work you want to be getting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    It is inevitable that those who haven't taken the time and effort to get a degree denigrate those who have.

    It gets dull.
    Not as dull as baseless generalizations. I found one denigrating poster near the beginning of the thread -- a one-liner from a newbie with two posts.

    The rest of the thread seems pretty positive about college degrees. Just because it takes time and effort doesn't mean everyone has to do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    The main reason for getting qualified to any advanced level - except for specialist areas like a doctor of medicine - is the discpline it (should) instills in you.

    True, not everyone needs that type of academic rigour to develop the discipline, but most do.

    I never got the chance to do a degree due to life commitments, but I would love to have done.

    The highest I ever got was a HNC in business. A vocational qualification at almost degree level... but not quite.

    (Who can guess whose headlines I copied that off?)
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  • Profile picture of the author David Chung
    I do agree with you there Ken. There's no need to get a college degree. And if you attend with the wrong mindset a degree can even be counter-productive. What you learn in your textbooks doesn't always apply to your work.

    And if you just plan to attend college simply to coast and get the little piece of paper you might as well not attend at all.

    But approached the right way college can also be really helpful.

    It's like going to the movies. Approached the wrong way, a movie is just a waste of time (copywriting-wise). If you go just to be entertained, like everyone else does, it's not going to help your copywriting very much. If you go and you study how the movie is presented, how the audience reacts to different lines, scenes, stories, movie ticket price points and so on, going to the movies can be a good way to help you keep track of what works or doesn't work with the general public.

    But you don't have to go to the movies to be a good copywriter or Internet Marketer. You don't need a college degree either. But it can help if you approach it with the right mindset.
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  • Profile picture of the author TigerRaging
    I think having a degree helps you get your foot in the door with alot of people. It is by no means a requirement but allows you to charge alot more faster
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Originally Posted by AdmiralGloom View Post

    Just curious, I am sure you see that your position requires a Bachelors Degree or something similar.
    No it doesn't. I've never had a client even ask me what my education was, AND, I would hang up on them if they did.
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  • Profile picture of the author RefundHost
    Degree?
    One of the best long-copy writers did some of his best work FROM PRISON.
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  • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
    I got two degrees from USC (Accounting and Entrepreneurship).

    But the real learning was outside of class.

    Hanging out with my roomates in the dorms talking philosophy till 3 am, or getting different view points from students in other countries who were anti-USA, it opens your eyes.

    And lets be honest here...

    ...college parties RULE. The REAL reason to go to college is to indulge in time honored beer-bonging, beer pong, keg stands, and running around the campus naked for what at the time seemed to be a great idea.

    Damn, I miss college so much. I honestly believe that people get MBAs to keep prolonging the experience.

    Look, if you are trying to get into corporate America, you need a degree. Period.

    If you want to be in business for yourself, the key is to be part of solid networks. Maybe that network is your college alumni group, maybe its not.

    I've met wealthy people who have college degrees. I've met wealthy people without high school.

    In either case, both were passionate people with a lot of contacts.

    My son is 14 months now, and I wonder if going to college is the best thing for him.

    I don't know...

    ... yet. I don't know how my son will evolve. It all depends on him.

    But damn, I sure do miss it!
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  • Profile picture of the author tformsopti8
    I really don't think the degree matters that much. The degree only states that you have learned the theory behind copy writing. The best way to learn it is by practicing and refining your technique everyday.
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