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There’s more than just college

Theres more than just college

While many seniors who graduate high school go straight off to college, there are some who pursue other ventures instead. Whether it is taking a gap year, joining the military, going straight into the workforce, or attending trade school, there are lots of alternative options that can provide good opportunities for people looking to do something besides the normal university route.

For those looking to gain more experience before college, a gap year can be a good option. A gap year is when a student takes a year off between graduating high school and attending college primarily to work, travel, or gain experience in some field of interest. 

Zane Keilt, senior, is planning to take a gap year to work and make money as well as take the time to explore different options and possible career paths. “I didn’t do the best in high school, so this will really help me to make additional money before hopefully becoming an aircraft mechanic for the Airforce in a few years,” Keilt said. “This will also give me time to change plans and experiment to see if I potentially want to do something else in my life.”

Another potential option for those hesitant about college would be joining the military. Hunter Pulliam, senior, has already enlisted in the Marine Corps and plans to go to bootcamp after he graduates high school. Many who choose this route use the G.I. Bill, where someone would attend college in the military for free, then serve a few years for that branch afterwards as payment to the armed forces for their education. However, there is another route in the military that is less talked about, and that is the enlisted route.

This is the route Pulliam has decided to do as it will allow him to better accomplish his goals in the Marine Corps. “My contract right now is in infantry but my hope is to become a recon marine, which is the special forces for the Marine Corps,” Pulliam said. “Doing this, I can also attend online school or night school to get an education that way while I serve.” 

“There is often a negative stigma about doing something other than college, but you got to feel where you’re at. If you don’t feel you’re ready, the military could be a great option for you.”

Hunter Pulliam

Pulliam said, “There is often a negative stigma about doing something other than college, but you got to feel where you’re at. If you don’t feel you’re ready, the military could be a great option for you. While this might not be for everyone, it is something everyone should consider.”

If the first two options don’t sound like your preferred career paths, another option to consider would be trade school. Trade school is a place someone goes to learn to be an electrician, plumber, or any other job that requires special skills. 

Pros and Cons of trade school vs. college. Source: The Best Schools Organization. Infographic by Samuel Hilsden.

Trade school often costs less than a college degree too. According to “The Best Schools Organization”, trade school students pay an average of $33,000 for their entire education compared to $20,000+ per year for a college education. Trade school graduates also finish their education nearly 2 years before a 4-year college graduate meaning they get into the workforce and start making money sooner.

Trade school graduates also enjoy higher job security than college graduates too. This is because trade school graduates perform essential services that are needed at all times around the world, even in weak economies and recessions, according to  “The Best Schools Organization.”

While college-based careers tend to earn more money than trades over time, if you are someone who likes to fix stuff and work with your hands, this could be a compelling option to look into as it requires less money to get started and guarantees high job security.

While most students will choose to go to college, it is important that those hesitant about going know that it is not their only option to receive a post-grad education or career.

Samuel Hilsden, Online Editor

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There’s more than just college