I Don’t Want To Go To College

As you prepare for life after high school, you might think to yourself, “What if I don’t want to go to college? Are there any other alternatives?”

Yes, there are other alternatives to college. In fact, there are many careers that do not require a traditional 4-year education.

Typically, however, some sort of post high school education or training is required to be successful in today’s job marketplace.

Below we’ll discuss some of your options for continuing your education beyond high school that do not require you to attend a traditional university. This information is particularly geared towards those students who’ve said, “I don’t want to go to college.”

While formal schooling post high school is not for everyone, regardless of which career or area of focus you choose, there’s most likely a way for you to learn more about it.

Not only does furthering your education in your career field help you become more knowledgeable, but it also helps you gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by adding more credibility to your resume, which will help you land more job interviews.

Just think about it, who would an auto repair shop want to hire more…

  • A) A young man who completed a certificate program in auto mechanics, or
  • B) A young man who claims to be good at fixing cars

It’s a no brainer, right? The young man who has gone through the appropriate training and has the certificate to prove he knows how to repair cars properly.

Additionally, more training typically means more job security and the opportunity to potentially move into a management postion and earn more money! And who doesn’t love more money?

So enough about all that. What are some ways students who say, “I don’t want to go to college,” can get educated in the career field of their choice without attending a traditional college or university.

Option #1 – Vocational Schools

Vocational schools are also commonly referred to as “Trade,” “Career,” or “Technical” schools. These schools teach students a specific set of skills needed to perform a very specialized job. An example would be the auto mechanic guy we discussed earlier.

Some students who already know they don’t want to go to college take classes at Vocational schools during their senior year of high school as part of a co-op program. In addition to auto mechanics, some other common training programs offered at Vocational schools include cosmetology, dental assistant, culinary arts, and patient care technicians.

Option #2 – Community College

Community colleges are also commonly referred to as “Junior” colleges. Now I know what you’re thinking…”I don’t want to go to college,” but hear me out…

Community colleges are 2-year institutions where students can either earn an associate’s degree or a specialized certification.

The option to earn an associate’s degree can be a good choice for those students who are still on the fence about whether or not they want to attend a traditional 4-year university because those credit hours can be transferred to a 4-year school if the student later decides to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

The specialized certificate programs offered at community colleges are similar to those offered at Vocational schools, however there are generally more to choose from. Some examples of certificate programs offered at community colleges are emergency medical technician (EMT), real estate, event planning, EKG technician, eye care assistant, and teacher aide assistant, just to name a few.

There are literally hundreds of certificate programs out there so I’d recommend checking out your local community college’s website to find out exactly which ones are offered.

Another good thing about community colleges is that they have an “open admission” policy. This means anyone with a high school diploma or GED may attend. No need to worry about your high school GPA or your score on the ACT or SAT!

Option #3 – Liberal Arts College

I know, I know…you just said “I don’t want to go to college” and here I am throwing another option at you with the word “college” in the title. Again, just hear me out…

A liberal arts college is nothing like most traditional 4 year colleges or universities. They have an emphasis on humanities, social sciences, and science. Students are able to major in a specific area, but they also get exposure to a wide variety of subjects.

These schools are much smaller than your typical university and the focus is more on the student. They’re generally located in residential areas, which means students live and learn in an environment away from their home town.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about subjects like dance, foreign language, literature, art history, women’s studies, political science, etc., you might want to consider attending a liberal arts college.

One of our very own interns, Emily Margosian, is a senior at Augustana College, a liberal arts college, and she loves it!

Watch the video below as she breaks down the difference between a liberal arts college and a traditional university and discusses her college experience over the last 4 years:

So even if you decide that a traditional 4-year education is not for you and you tell your parents, “I don’t want to go to college,” now you know there are at least 3 other post high school options for you to consider!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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