Here is a tough question for people with an entrepreneurial spirit: is it better to get a degree in entrepreneurship or to jump head first into the game by starting your own business without seeking post-secondary education?

Entrepreneurship degrees are all the rage, nowadays, and more and more establishments like this one : are fighting to offer one to their students. However, the value of an entrepreneurship degree isn’t still as clear as the one delivered by a more mainstream education in a field like accounting. Simply put, how can one learn to become an entrepreneur during the course of a 3 or 4-year degree? That’s a fair question to ask for any young person out there thinking about their future.

A Value That’s Hard to Assess…

The value of most mainstream degrees can be ascertained with a decent level of confidence by examining the employment prospects they lead to. However, assigning an actual amount on entrepreneurship isn’t as simple as it may seem, especially considering the high rate of bankruptcy of new businesses and the massive losses that even those who survive must go through during their first years of operations. These wild variations make reaching a useful conclusion on the value of entrepreneurship degrees an impossible task.

With that in mind, the value of an entrepreneurship degree must depend on how much it helps an entrepreneur start a business—and make it last more than 5 years, for example, which is not necessarily an easier thing to calculate. Articles that promote entrepreneurship degrees typically present overly broad statistics about new businesses while failing (on purpose) to determine what positive trends can be attributed to entrepreneurship degrees.

If you think that so far, it doesn’t look so good for entrepreneurship degrees, consider also this: it’s not rare for professors that teach entrepreneurship to spit this hard truth to their student: to know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, you need to actually get out there and build one. Ouch…

Indeed, there is only so much you can learn about entrepreneurship in school because every business is different from another, so entrepreneurs can’t magically transfer transfer their business knowledge to their students. Plus, some of the professors that teach these courses are talking about things they never experienced in the real world themselves because they never had their own business.

… But a Value Nonetheless

Despite what the previous section seems to conclude, there is a significant value in entrepreneurship degrees, which is at least the same as the one delivered by any other college degree: while you’re in university pursuing a post-secondary education, you have the opportunity to experience a lot of things that you won’t do anywhere else, access a vast amount of resources and to make connections with a lot of people. All these points are even truer if you choose to go to an university that offers an entrepreneurship curriculum, chances are good that you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with entrepreneurs and other key individuals that are often invited to speak to entrepreneurship students from their old institution.

A lot of businesses were founded in the most odd places like garages and dorm rooms. If so many famous people started from the bottom in this context, with only half the money, contacts and education opportunities someone like you might have, think about what is within your reach that you don’t realize. At the end of the day, the value of any college degree amount to what you and only you make of it. Having a degree in entrepreneurship is not a magical thing that will do all the legwork required to start and maintain a successful business; it’s merely a tool to help you reach that goal. Furthermore, universities are packed with resources that would be much harder for you to access if you’re not a student, so there is also that.

Depending on where you live, a post-secondary education can be a huge financial investment, so the decision process can’t be assumed to be the same for everyone. Consider all sides of the equation before making a move that will have a such a profound impact on your life.