I sent the following FB message to a friend of mine, who was asking for feedback on attending Columbia College in Chicago. Here's what I wrote:
Thanks for the message about this. Yes, it is a big topic - and one that needs some discussion - at Columbia.
What I can say, from personal experience, is that I never felt driven to graduate. I personal drove myself to acquire the knowledge I felt was necessary for me to succeed with my art in "the real world". As it turned out, though I learned a lot of stuff about the business of art and music, it was all stuff that I could have learned by reading a stack of books.
Do I regret my days at Columbia? No. But knowing what I now know, I mostly tell aspiring artists to take a year off after high school, pursuing their art full-time. Don't hold down a day job during that year or you'll screw yourself for financial aid, if you decide to go to college the year after. Make sure that your parents see your art, because if they do (and they think it's truly good work) then they'll support you in pursuing it. Great artists don't have to go to college, but they do have to be smart, eager to learn and always learning, ever-refining their skills, and unafraid of failure.