Alternatives to college after graduation

It is no secret that Makos are generally a breed of high-achievers. Students tend to know where they want to go to college and what they want to study well before their senior year. Additionally, it is easy to get caught up in the hype that American culture creates around college. This has resulted in many high school graduates to-be believing that college is their only option after graduation. However, there are many alternatives to the college experience that are just as or even more fulfilling than earning a college degree, including:


If you are unsure about a career passion but have always been passionate about helping others, there are many unpaid international volunteer programs. These include Workaway, Helpx, and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF).These programs are free because you are working in exchange for accommodations and food.

You would not necessarily work for a community, but on a farm, for a small business or family. If you would like to make a bigger impact in your volunteering, consider paid international volunteer programs. These include but are not limited to Cross Cultural Solutions, Build Abroad, and International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ). You are not paying to volunteer, you are paying for food and accommodations. However, this turns out to be cheaper than staying in hotels.

Join the Military

An obstacle that hinders many from attending college is the cost of tuition and fees. Not only will the military pay your tuition, but you will also earn a $35,000 salary that increases the longer you serve, receive free health care, have little to no living expenses, travel the world for free, and receive diverse training in skills that can be used in a number of jobs after service.

Consider a Gap Year to Travel

There is a great difference between learning about Central and South American history and travelling through Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Ecuador to see the history first hand. Taking a gap year is perfect for the student who cannot imagine sitting through lectures and studying for countless exams for another four years immediately after graduation. After all, nothing beats learning a language and gaining valuable people-skills by engaging with people of various cultures and customs.

Enroll in a Vocational School

This route is best for the student who knows exactly what career they want to pursue and do not want to take courses unrelated to their career. Such technical careers include plumbing, welding, masonry, locksmithing, metalwork, and electrical work. Although the average graduate of trade schools make $42,000 compared the $48,000 average salary of college graduates, trade schools cost significantly less and generally take just two years to complete school. This means less debt and more time to earn money for paying off any debt that exists.