For people looking to be true high-end professionals (and by that I mean engineers, etc.) I guess college is the only choice - but I'm wondering if maybe for a lot of people (myself included) if just taking whatever cash you had and vagrantly traveling the country might not be a better learning experience. It's probably a fast way to find yourself - and certainly a fast way to learn about life. Picking up whatever jobs come your way, dealing with the hardships of not having a solid place to live, etc. - you probably learn how to deal with things quickly and learn what kind of person you really are and what you're capable of figuring out and getting yourself out of.