Are you looking for some different alternatives to college because the “traditional path” doesn’t seem so attractive?
Good for you! You’re part of a rare breed of people who aren’t indoctrinated to just follow the herd by going to college. You’re able to think for yourself.
Why is it smart for people to look at alternatives to college? Well, there are lots of problems with college.
1. Students go to college to try to figure out what to do with their lives and come out of college knowing no more than when they went in. Unlike what you’ve probably been told, college is actually a terrible place to figure out what you want to do.
2. The students who do end up graduating with a degree thinking they can get a decent job end up realizing they can’t even get their foot in the door. This is because college often doesn’t teach you the specialized skills required to get a job in a field.
3. After the students graduate with $35,000 of student loan debt on average with no job prospects, they are put in a terrible position. They are forced to work whatever basic job they can get just to pay down their debt. They don’t have the opportunity to buy a house, travel, start a business, etc.
Here Are the Top 5 Alternatives to College
College Alternative #1: Business Career
One of the best alternatives to college is to start a career in business. Most people might be thinking you need a degree to start a business career, but that simply isn’t true.
The best business careers are often the ones that don’t require a degree. These are careers in sales, marketing, analytics, design, programming, etc. Pretty much all of the best paying business jobs.
The way you go about starting these careers is the main difference. Instead of relying on college to teach you the right things and give you a credential, you have to learn the material through alternative means and get connected with employers looking for skilled people in your field.
The way you do this is typically by using The Lean Career Model.
Step 1: Identify a specialization
Step 2: Learn that specialization
Step 3: Test your specialization
Step 4: Expand your knowledge on the specialization or repeat steps 1-3.
You can either follow this model on your own using self-education or you can go through online courses/boot camps. Here at CourseCareers, we have an online course that trains people in technology sales and gets them connected with year-round internships at companies. You can go through our Introduction course for free
College Alternative #2: Trades Career
Another great alternative to college is by going into the trades. These types of careers often have an undersupply of trained individuals making them easier to break into while also paying very well.
These are careers in construction, welding, plumbing, HVAC, Electricians mechanics, etc. Careers where you use your hands to create and fix things.
The way you go about starting these jobs can be through community college, apprenticeships, or plain on the job training. You can also supplement your work experience with online courses/books to help you learn faster.
The great thing about these careers is that they often require minimum academic education, so if you don’t enjoy learning in a classroom or on a computer, then a career in the trades is for you.
Unlike business careers that can take a couple of months to a year before you start making money, people in the trades can often start working and making money immediately or with very minimal training.
College Alternative #3: Military
I’m sure you’ve already heard of this option as an alternative to college. The reason it’s so popular is that it’s a great gig.
Imagine being 18 years old and able to move out of your parent’s house to hang out with a bunch of bros shooting guns. Your expenses are mostly paid for by the military and your salary can go straight to savings.
The military will also teach you valuable disciple and work ethic skills. They will push you to get in shape and make you strong. Depending on which branch you go into, you can also learn very valuable skills that directly translate into a high paying civilian job aftward. Things like trades work, aviation, etc.
During your tenure in the military, you might also have the privilege to travel the world meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of joining the military. Many regard it as one of the best and most memorable times of their life.
College Alternative #4: Work-Travel
You probably haven’t heard of this type of alternative to college. Some might refer to it as a gap year, but I think the most accurate name is work-travel.
This is when you save up some $$ to fly anywhere you want in the world and start working a simple job to pay the bills while saving up money to travel somewhere else.
By doing this it allows you to explore the world, learn different cultures and languages, and work a variety of interesting jobs. Many people from Europe or Australia choose to work-travel after high school for a year or two.
You could potentially travel to a new country and get a new job every month. This would give teach you all about yourself and what you like to do and what type of person you are. Much more than college ever could.
The types of jobs you can work while doing this range all the way from a nanny or English teacher to working in tourism, hospitality or even farming.
College Alternative #5: Pursue your Passion
I find people who choose this option as an alternative to college very inspiring. They take a chance and put their career on hold to pursue their dreams.
Perhaps you have a passion for something that doesn’t directly translate into a job. This passion might be you wanting to be a musician, youtube creator, artist, entrepreneur, etc.
While you won’t be able to make enough money to support yourself from your passion at the start, you might be able to make it big if you do find success.
This means that in the meantime you will need to get whatever job you can to pay the bills while you work on making your dreams come true. This allows you to put all of your effort into working on your passion since there is no better way to make it a success than by just putting in the time.
You could be a part-time grocery clerk who’s also working on changing the world. You could be a barista by day and DJ by night. You could be working as an usher making minimum wage at a TV station while also working on your dream of making your own station.