No one must go to college. There are plenty of options available if a four year degree is not for you.
It’s understandable that not everyone wants to go to college. But with everyone talking about it, especially teachers and parents. How do you tell everyone it’s not for you?
Why do you not want to go?
Don’t like school
Surprising as it may seem to teachers and parent, some kids just don’t like school. It’s not a lazy thing. Many kids that don’t like school actually achieve high grades. But school is not for everyone and for these, college just doesn’t seem to be an option. You may hate the structure of school life. Class after class, studying items you have no interest in. But remember college is different. You attend classes you are genuinely interested in. And they usually are not 9-3/4 all day, every day.
Pressurized by parent
Lots of kids go to college because their parents insist on it. They have worked hard to ensure you get the best education possible and can’t understand why you don’t want to go.
They see a college education as the key to the best future for you. And in a way they are correct. Going to college certainly increases your chances of higher future earnings in specific areas and the ability to apply for certain jobs. But going to college to pacify or please your parents is not a good idea. The dropout rate for freshmen is about 30%. I see this with our daughter’s class. She is a sophomore and yes about a third of her freshman class have already gone. And there are a few more that are not going to go the distance through lack of interest. Going to college is most certainly a choice that needs to be a personal decision.
Maybe the reason you are reluctant to go is because of finances. This regrettably is the reason why many don’t go. There is financial aid but sometimes it is simply not enough to cover all the costs. The thoughts of putting extra financial burden on parents might feel like too much.
Talk to Counsellors
What are the college alternatives?
The world is your oyster. There is so much on offer as an alternative to college. Let’s look at a few.
- Gap Year
Perhaps you are the kid that has been selling lemonade on the sidewalk when you were 8 years old. Or you have the ability to sell anything to anyone. You could of course still go to college to develop this skill but sometimes entrepreneurs are just gifted with people or an idea. Maybe you already have a website up and running that is making money and you want to develop it further. There are so many outlets available online now, you could be selling all over the world and not just from the sidewalk outside your house.
Apprenticeship / On Site Training
This is another avenue available. If the reason you don’t want to go to college is because you prefer hands on work to book work. You could consider an apprenticeship with a master craftsman or think about a job training program. A craftsman will teach you all he knows as you work alongside them. Job training will include a short training period (up to 10/12 weeks) and then you are able to start work earning a real wage. These jobs can be anything from a pilot to a realtor.
Joining the military is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, there are great benefits to being part of the armed forces. It will teach you independence. But also how to be part of a team. It adds structure to people’s lives. It provides a salary and somewhere to live. The military also very much thinks about the future of each recruit. You have the option of contributing to an education fund (GI Bill) that enables you to attend college in the future should you choose to. It is a fantastic option for those that might not be clear on their future just yet.
An internship is a good way to get some experience in a particular field. These positions are sometimes paid but often the experience you are gaining is in lieu of payment. If a company sees that you are keen there are usually education bursaries available for you to train one day a week or attend night school. Sometimes it is difficult to do everything. If you are not getting paid you may need another job and that may prohibit you from attending night school.
If you don’t want to go to college it may be because you are totally burnt out from school. The thoughts of another 4 years (at least) sends shivers through you. Maybe you should just take a year out. Recharge the batteries. Refocus the mind. This idea may send your parents into a tailspin. Before you mention this do some research. Have a plan. If you’re thinking of travelling, how are you going to fund this? If volunteering, where is this going to be? The more organized you are, the more likely this plan will come together.
Still sit your SATs
SATs are compulsory. I’m really advising that you actually put some skin in the game and try and get the best result you can. Even if you never plan on going to college it still may come up in conversation at a job interview. The fact that college is not for everyone is completely understandable but that doesn’t mean we just give up on our education.
You’re going to have to do something when you leave high school and the better your high school diploma and SAT results read the higher your chances of success. There are minimum SAT results and GPA scores for almost everything. (Military require GPA 2.5 / SAT 920 min)
Even apprenticeships will require some form of SAT result and a high school diploma.
If you are struggling with the academic side of things senior year, go and speak to a teacher or a counsellor. They are all there to help you succeed. They don’t want any student to fail. And they understand that a proportion of all senior years just don’t wish to go on to college. They will provide you with all the local alternatives to what your options can be post-graduation.
Long term plan
How can you make that decision when you have no experience of anything? My advice is if you don’t want to go to college after high school try and set out a plan for the next year. Break it down into smaller sections. List all the things you are good at or really enjoy doing.
Do you like playing a team sport? Maybe consider coaching a little league.
Do you like being around people? Perhaps volunteer at a shelter or a retirement village. Having even a short-term plan will allow you to see what you enjoy doing (and what you don’t).
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