Alternative Paths
6th Oct 2010Posted in: Alternative Paths 0

Going to college right out of high school is not for everyone. Whether you need a year to do something different before continuing your education or you want to pursue other goals not requiring a college degree, there are many different options for students after high school.

Fifth Year Programs/Post-Graduate Year

Private residential schools offering students the opportunity to polish up their course list or improve study skills in order to have a more successful college experience. Most programs are of a college preparatory nature so students can also gain experience with managing responsibilities away from home. Many of these schools offer competitive sports, and high school athletes looking for sport scholarships often find these schools “better connected” to college scouts.

Organized Travel or Volunteer Experiences, within the U.S. and Abroad

There are several excellent organizations that offer small group or individual travel experiences for students.  There are an abundance of opportunities available, from traditional “exchange” programs where students live with local families, to exotic trips to remote corners of the world where students participate in “voluntourism” including ecological studies or humanitarian work, among other choices.   Some students seeking a greater understanding of their religious beliefs and heritage may also explore church or faith-based opportunities in schools, orphanages and health care settings.

Transition Programs

Residential programs dedicated to students who need a more structured transitional program to ensure future academic and personal success.  Some programs work with their local community colleges or universities to offer a post-secondary academic component to the program.

Technical Colleges

Technical colleges can offer a variety of hands-on learning experiences specific to career-oriented preparation.  There are both Associates Degree and Bachelors Degree options at most accredited technical colleges.  In addition to the real-world experience students gain, the small class sizes and top-notch instructor mentoring add to the excellent preparation in specific fields.  Some community colleges also offer technical or applied sciences degree programs.

Two-Year Colleges

With or without dorms, two-year colleges can be a cost-effective way of exploring college while at the same time preparing you for transferring to a four-year college program or the world of work.  Two-year colleges typically offer small class sizes, excellent academic support services and top-notch instructor mentoring.

Career Internships

For students with their sights on a particular career, an internship in that field may be a good place to start. Many suggestions can be found online, or students can create their own experiences using contacts in their chosen area of interest.


Typically, these are formal programs set-up through unions or within specific professions to provide sequential training leading to full-time employment and sometimes licensing.  Formal apprenticeships can often lead to high paying jobs in careers such as plumbing, electrical and other trade union positions.


Carefully choose opportunities to explore the world of work. Many companies would rather train someone on the job than take employees with previous training not matching their specific needs.

Comments are closed.