Going straight to college after graduating from high school is a common goal for many students, but it’s not going to be the right choice for everyone. The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data shows that 34 percent of adults over 25 have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher – this figure has increased from about 26 percent in 2000. But a traditional four-year university course is not the only option for continuing your education after high school ends.
Why College Might Not Be Best Choice For You (Right Now)
As someone who has their Masters in Education, this degree has opened many doors for me. I am certainly glad that I went to college and later became an educator and writer otherwise my life would be totally different right now. However, college left me with about $30,000 in student loans. While I think this is a lot of money, some of my friends and colleagues are much closer to $50,000 in debt. In addition, according to Complete College America and the Department of Education, students are now spending an average of six years in college. College is generally thought of as four years, but if you don’t really know what your major is going to be from the get-go, it can take you much longer.
Finances aside, you might just not feel ready college, perhaps you are worried about moving away from home for the first time, or you have concerns about your academic performance and stamina for intense learning. For students who would like a little ‘breathing room’ between high school and university life, there are several options including taking a gap year, attending community college part-time while working and saving up for full-time college, or taking volunteer positions and internships to learn more about potential career paths before committing to a long course of study.
Quality Alternatives to Consider
Trade schools or technical colleges can be the smart choice for someone who is already interested in a practical career path. If you want to learn more about trades such as plumbing, electric, and woodworking, this could be for you. Plus, they are usually shorter courses (two years rather than four) and much less expensive than college. There are numerous options available in trade schools that you might find attractive. If you love the outdoors, forestry could be something that you would really enjoy.
More graduating high school students should look into doing an apprenticeship if they are strapped financially and just set on working minimum wage jobs. With an apprenticeship, you are paid an average of $15 to $20 an hour as you learn the craft that you chose. You could become an electrician, plumber, roofer, ironworker, construction worker, bricklayer, or even a carpenter through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are available almost everywhere. Do a quick online search and you will find one near you. The best thing is that after a couple years, you will be a certified professional in the field that you chose.
If you want to be an entrepreneur and you have a great idea for a business, then follow your dreams. You do not need a college education to start your own business. Make sure it is something that you are passionate about though. It can take a bit of money to start a business, but it will be less than what you would pay for college. In addition, many businesses operate entirely online nowadays. A brick and mortar store is not needed.
The military can provide you with guidance and proper work ethic in life. The pay is usually around $35,000 a year, but it increases the longer you serve. You can also have your college entirely paid for in some cases as well. If you need to learn discipline, the military might be the way to go. Of course, there is always the risk of being deployed to other countries, so there are things you need to take into consideration.
These are just a few options to consider in case you are having a difficult time with high school and wondering what your future holds. However, if you feel you would do well at college, but just do not know what step to take next for it, iAchieve can certainly help. We provide college planning that will make the process much easier.
Written by Ryan Crawley
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