Key Words: Billionaire investor Ray Dalio has 3 words of advice for kids headed to college — and parents may not like them

Teenagers across the country will be flipping their tassels and flinging their mortarboards into the air this week as they say goodbye to their high school years and set their sights on college. For these wide-eyed youngsters, the billionaire behind the world’s biggest hedge fund has three words of advice:

‘Party like crazy.’

That’s the answer Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio gave when he was asked in a recent Reddit discussion how students should go about getting the most out of the college experience. “Don’t make the grades your highest priority,” he continued. “Make the friendships and your experiences most important.”

He explained schools often fail students by making them learn what the teacher wants them to remember, and by making them think mistakes are bad.

“I think it’s really important for children in school to learn that making mistakes is part of the learning process, that everybody has strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “And I think it’s also important for them to learn how to think creatively for themselves rather than just follow instructions.”

Dalio was apparently an average student in high school, but he sure seemed to prioritize grades when he majored in finance at Long Island University, where he performed well enough to be accepted at Harvard Business School.

From there, the rest is Wall Street history.

As for those hoping to follow in his storied footsteps in deftly navigating Wall Street, Dalio said “dive into the markets, have the shit kicked out of you, and learn how to do things differently.”

It’s critical, he added, to surround yourself with smart people and “to know how to simultaneously think for yourself and know that you know virtually nothing so that you have to take in the best thinking that’s available to you and critically analyze it.”

For more from Dalio, check out this interview with Google GOOG, +1.27%  from earlier this year:

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