I'm often arguing with people about this topic exactly. A lot of teens feel pressured to attend university because that is the only way society perceives success. However, I believe that one can become successful in many ways - even without university.
Depending on how you define success, this will be an interesting thought for you.
Firstly, this is how I view success:
Spending my days as I wish
Being able to spend quality time with loved ones without feeling guilty
Not stressing about money.
I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about me. I do NOT believe that you need money to be successful. I do however feel as though not being stressed about finances can positively impact your life.
So, Can you be successful without university?
It depends on how you define success. If success to you means being an expert in your field then University may be the best option to achieving that, but I do not believe that it is the only option to achieving this.
I think that we have been manipulated in to believing that success is only granted by western systems of education despite the fact that indigenous communities worldwide have illustrated that education can take many forms.
I am in my second year of my LLB at Waikato University. The reason for this though is not to become 'successful' because I know that I can do this by continually working on myself without the use of an expensive degree. In saying this though, I want to study Law so that I can help change the system. "You gotta understand the system to be able to change it".
University puts you in debt. A lot of debt in most cases. University tuition costs around $8,000 per year depending on what you are studying. On top of this, you aren't able to work as much as you would otherwise. So, assuming that you aren't working and don't qualify for student allowance then you could be receiving $240 a week of student loan. This all adds up to around $18,000 a year! If you study for 3-4 years this could mean a debt of between $54,000 - $72,000.
Most University Graduates are starting their working careers with this heavy debt weighing them down, whereas those who decided not to go to university could have that same amount invested or saved - and, by the same age!
So, financially - university is not always the way to go. I believe that if you are passionate then you will find success in whichever path you decide to take.