I am trying to win the most condescending post of the day award...
Going to school does not make you "smarter" it makes you more knowledgeable (the opposite of ignorant), that's it. Intelligence (smart) is something you are born with not something that can be fostered or changed through education (I hear eating broccoli helps though). There's many factors that go into the success of college grads. Motivation and work ethic are at the top of my list, but intelligence is recognized in this world, just like a fine pair of boobs. And if you were a hiring manager and a really smart non-college grad out shined a college grad who would you hire? Even if you do not agree with it, that's the way it is, that's where the phrase "life isn't fair" comes from.
I personally do not put much stock in college, for many reasons. Progress requires innovation and intelligence, both cannot be taught. Did you guys know that google actually experimented with only hiring innovative people without college degrees? I knew a guy while working at Intel that went over to google, he said they hired him because he lacked a college degree in the subject. They found, through real world stats, people who were well educated were less innovative and less productive. Take the Microsoft interview questions for example, this is one "What method would you use to look up a word in a dictionary?" no joke, look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_interview
I am a fairly good example of my theories, my father is a better one. My only formal education is a high school diploma. My life's experiences, the school of hard knocks, is incredibly vast. I would still not recommend my path. Without a college degree, certification or any sort of piece of paper besides a resume I have landed jobs at some very prestigious institutions. While my friends were finishing up 10 year long PHD thesis's in advanced sciences, I was gaining highly valuable real world working experience. They actually came to me for advice when it came time for them to jump into the real world. I am now set for life and ready to take up reins in a leadership role while my friends are still peons in their field. Sure they might make more money than I someday, but they will have to settle because their fields are too saturated or under funded. They will not reach their lofty goals, no matter how much college they pay for. Such is life.
My father barely even graduated high school and worked in a bottling plant growing up. He eventually made it all the way to a designer/physicist at a secret national laboratory and still can't tell me what he was working on. The guy never went to college and ended his career teaching them. And he's not even that smart, just very creative and innovative.
So when someone tells you that going to college is required for a good job, just nod and smile. If you lack intelligence, innovation and a strong work ethic then you need to quickly find a lucrative field or trade and train like mad, be it college or vocational school but don't get down on yourself because there's people out there who have it easier than you. Some plumbers make a crap load of money. Some jobs simply require a skill, go find it and become a master at it. You can still make it in this world no matter what hand you are dealt, but sitting on your butt won't help and going to college, going through the motions, doing what others tell you, is not a guarantee that you will reach your goals or be successful.