Every high school graduate faces a barrage of intimidating questions about their future. What colleges did they apply to? Where did they get accepted? Where are they going? What are they studying? The push to pursue the traditional path of college directly after high school can be overwhelming. And, to be quite honest, it can pressure some students to do things they do not really want to do, simply because they feel the need to follow the social norm. Here at The Tenney School, we realize that every student has different desires, goals, and resources in their life. Students should understand that there are other options available to them. They are allowed to choose whichever path supports their dreams! Here are six alternatives to a traditional college.
1. Trade School Instead of Traditional College
Trade schools provide hands-on technical education within specific fields. They eliminate classroom learning and take you right to the workplace, where you can observe and learn on-site right after high school. Some benefits of trade schools include a shorter time in school (usually around a year or two as opposed to the four years required for traditional college) and much lower costs. Trade schools also allow the learner to focus on whatever skill it is they want to pursue, rather than having to take years of gen ed classes.
2. Military Service
Did you know that the military can pay up to 100% of college costs for active duty members? Depending on which branch one chooses to pursue, the funding per semester and the military service time can vary. However, at any level, military members are eligible for college funding. This is an excellent way to serve others and get an education at the same time.
3. Online School
With the recent changes in the world, the online school has become much more prevalent. And with good reason. While some love the classroom experience, others learn much better when they can study on their own time in their own home (or preferred location). Also, many students need to work while they study, and online college makes this much more achievable. To top it all off, online classes are often less expensive than traditional college classes.
4. Taking a Gap Year Before Attending Traditional College
As stated above, most graduating high school students are expected to move off to college the next Fall. However, many students find it beneficial to take a gap year. After all, what if someone is not exactly sure what they want to do? Why potentially waste money on classes they are not going to use later in life? Instead, students should take a year to work, experience the world, and assess their desires. A gap year is not a wasted year. It is a set-up for success.
5. Community College and Alternative Testing
Community college may not have a prestigious ring to it, but it is incredibly practical. And why spend thousands of dollars learning something that could be learned for free? Many community colleges also offer dual-credit classes, which can be completed in the last few years of high school. Many community colleges also offer testing (such as CLEP tests), which allow students to test out of gen ed subjects without having to take an entire class. Time and money saved!
6. Certification Programs
Last but not least, students can consider certification programs. These are typically quite short (sometimes even just a summer long) and inexpensive compared to a traditional college. The certification received at the end of the program will allow students to pursue the line of work they desire without any extra classes. The process is quite streamlined!
Need Help Finding Alternatives to Traditional College?
If you have any questions about education (grade school or beyond), feel free to contact us. We are here to make sure that each student reaches his or her full potential.