For as long as I can remember, the golden formula to success was to get good grades in high school, go to college, graduate from there, and then find yourself a really good job. For years, many of us, including myself, have taken that success formula to heart and have done just that.
But what if going to college isn’t a part of your plan? Is it possible to be successful without a college education?
This post will help you to answer that. Let’s face it — not all high school graduates are excited about attending college. So, what if you don’t want to go to college? We’ve got some popular alternatives.
Learn More About Yourself
While many students use the first couple of years of college to figure out what they want to do by not declaring a major or changing their major multiple times, you don’t need to spend $25K a year to do that. Here are some ways to learn more about what you want to do in life:
Go To Community College
Take some general courses at a community college and engage with counselors and instructors to help deepen your knowledge in certain areas. This could help eliminate a lot of doubt in your life.
Volunteer your time at different organizations. Of course, volunteer work won’t pay your bills, so it shouldn’t be full-time, but when you can fit it in. Volunteering with different organizations may help you to find a niche where you see yourself making a difference. Ultimately, you can explore work opportunities in those areas.
Sometimes the best way to learn what it is you should be doing is discovering more about what’s happening in the world around us. Traveling can be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. It can help you discover hidden interests or talents about yourself. Yes, traveling can be expensive, so you must develop a plan. Here are some ways to make traveling more affordable for you:
- Teach English abroad: You can take self-paced courses (about 120 hours) to earn a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate.
- Work as an au pair: There are families abroad who will hire someone as a caretaker to teach English to their kids to improve their language skills.
- Become a sitter: People often need someone to watch their home while they’re away to watch their pets. This could mean a tight schedule for you, roaming from one place to another, but it could lead to an immersive experience with various cultures.
- Volunteer: Some volunteer opportunities might even offer you the opportunity to travel and gain meaningful work experience. For example, some opportunities exist with UNESCO, The Red Cross, and UNICEF.
Get a Job
If you’re just done with school and want a complete break from it all, head straight to the workforce. That doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with a dead-end job. Not all career paths require a college degree. Sometimes you have to get an entry-level job where you start from the bottom to work your way up.
Learn a Trade
After some self-exploration, you may decide to learn a trade. You may still need to attend school, but not as extensive as college. Vocational schools or apprenticeship programs often offer a mix of learning styles, including hands-on.
Earn a Certification
It could be that what you desire to do in life doesn’t need a college degree but a certification or some type of credential. If that’s the case, then go for it. Pursue the appropriate certifications or credentials without spending a boatload of money on college.
Join the Military
Joining the military is still very much a viable option, not because you want to be on the frontlines, but because being gainfully employed based on your skills, interest, and aptitude. It could provide an earlier opportunity to do what you love than trying to find it coming straight out of high school. It’s also possible to earn college credit while serving or getting money toward college.
Start a Business
Maybe you have an entrepreneurial spirit and can’t contain it any longer. If you have a business idea, pursue it. Build a team of committed people to help you get started. Make sure they’re knowledgeable in areas you may not be to help get your business off the ground.
The Bottom Line
While a college education is a great option for some people, it may not be the option for you. Success without a college education is still very much doable; you just need to be aware of your alternative options and plan from there.
- No College Degree? Here Are 6 High-Paying Jobs Where You Won’t Need It
- [Side Gigs] Steady Review: Start Earning an Extra $5,500 This Year