HannahKornegay, Features Editor
The time of year when students consider how they want to continue their education after high school is rapidly approaching. For some professions, such as teaching and engineering, college is absolutely the right and necessary choice, but that may not be the route that every student needs to set for themselves based on their interests and goals. For students who are unsure whether or not the traditional four year college experience is right for them, here are a few alternatives:
There are some students who have the keen insight and imagination needed to forgo college and jumpstart their careers immediately after high school. With websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe to lighten the burden of funding an entire business alone, there have never been more opportunities for entrepreneurs than right now.
For a lot of students, the idea of a community college instead of the traditional college campus seems unappealing. However, there are a lot of community college programs that allow students to get the same credits as a traditional college so that students can work towards the future they want. There are a myriad of perks for going to a community college. For one, it saves tons of money. While that may not be something high school students appreciate now, it makes a world of difference to young adults hoping to start their lives without being weighed down by student loan debts. Attending a community college also makes the transition to college easier and allows a student to decide which path is right for them.
Trade schools offer specific training for students who choose to perfect a specific skill or talent rather than the courses required by the college. Trade schools, which often require two years or less of training, correlate with the majority of America’s “blue collar” jobs, a term that has developed a negative connotation. The fact of the matter is that skilled labor is a factor of the job market that shouldn’t be overlooked. On top of the vocational training obtained in a trade school, often times, it’s a lot easier to secure a job after school. In addition, many skilled laborers are paid well in comparison to those who do attend a four year college.
There are always places for men and women who want to serve the country, and more than 100,000 students join the military right after high school. The benefits for joining the military instead of choosing to go to college include free health care, little to no living costs, a salary and paid tuition while in service. Though here are a long list of requirements for joining any branch of the military accompanied by an even longer list of risks, but the military is a very admirable alternative to college.
A gap year, a break usually between high school and college or between college and higher education, is rapidly becoming the reality for students who are unsure of their next step after high school. During a gap year, a student could choose to do volunteer work in the form of a mission trip, save money to put towards college or travel to gain experience before they settle down and start their lives. A gap year gives students a mental break after the stresses of nearly thirteen years of continuous school. One of the major downfalls people attribute to a gap year is the sense of not wanting to go back to school after their year is up.
Ultimately, it’s up to students to decide their own course based on the interests that apply to them. If that doesn’t correspond with the idea of attending a four year college, then there’s an abundance of other options to choose from.