high school graduates celebrating

Alternatives to College

Not everyone goes to college. For some, the next step after high school can be a variety of different things other than continuing education.  If college isn’t right for you, don’t feel bad, it is perfectly okay to explore other options that can lead to a successful and happy life.

Here are some alternatives to attending college after high school:

Learn a trade

There will always be a need for electricians, mechanics, chefs, seamstresses and similar skill sets. This is a way to turn something you are passionate about into a career.

Start your own business

You don’t need a college degree to start and run your own business. There are plenty of opportunities out there for you to sell your goods, start a nonprofit, or anything else.

Get an internship

Internships are a great way to gain some real world experience as well as network with professionals. It will add to your resume and get your foot in the door.

Get a job

This is the most common options for those of us who opt out of college. Find an entry level position where you can work your way up the corporate ladder. If the corporate world isn’t for you, any job is a good job- restaurants, retail, customer service, whatever is right for you.


If you’re not quite ready to hit the job world right after graduation, you can spend your time volunteering. Look into different organizations that seem interesting to you and get involved. Volunteering looks great on your resume and could lead to a job in the future.


If you played a sport in high school, were in the marching band, or on the cheer squad, you can coach! Even if it’s only as the assistant or volunteer coach, it is definitely something to look into.

Join the military

Joining the military is a noble and respectful option over going to college. They may even pay for part or all of your education if you are interested in furthering it. This can be something you do for a few years or something that you turn into a lifelong career.

Get a certificate

You can get all kinds of certificates either online or by taking a class. You can get your real estate license, become a social media manager and much more.


If you need a break before starting work, travel! You can take a road trip or use your graduation gift money to explore abroad. Traveling can open your eyes to new ideas and cultures and possibly lead you in a different direction for your future that you had originally planned.

Join a service group

Joining the Peace Corp or AmeriCorps, or any other similar organization, is a way to make some money, gain experience, and make a difference in the world. These organizations do take people who have not earned a college degree and this is a great alternative to college.

Take classes online

If you are interested in furthering your education but traditional college is not in the cards for you, look into online classes. You can take these classes at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can also focus more on one subject rather than having to take all the general education courses required at a four year university.


Where ever your path may lead, remember that it is never too late and you are never too old to go back to school. After all, the oldest college graduate was 95 years old.

about the author

Callie Pederson

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Degree in Communication and Creative Writing. Outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, blogger.

Comments 2

  1. Mike

    Need a new career? Nondestructive Testing might work for you. On average a level I tech makes about $65,927 per year at $20.97 per hour. And that’s something you can achieve in months, not years. You do not need a degree to do this job. In fact you can get your entire education for around $7,000.00-$9,000.00 dollars and in less than 8 months. NDT Technicians do inspections on the vital infrastructure of our country; from Bridges and railways to oil/gas pipeline, brake pads, landing gear and plane wings. Our daily safety is dependent on these technicians. If you want to learn more about how to become a Non-Destructive Technician try googling “NDT online school” and check out what’s available. We need high quality people in this high demand high paying career field.

  2. NDT Training

    NDT Training at TXNDT is a great choice for you. You can learn many techniques starting from Magnetic particle testing to liquid penetrant testing. All are in affordable price. Book your seat..

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