Traditional Higher Education Alternatives
The societal pressures of getting a traditional college education are real, but it isn’t your only option. If you think going to a traditional university for your higher education isn’t for you, you are probably right! Avoid potentially wasting your time and save money on student loans, and choose a less traditional route. Not sure what other options you have? Don’t worry, we did some research for you!
Get a Certificate
Is there a specific industry or trade you are interested working in? It will save you money, in the long run, to get a certificate instead of a four-year degree that might not even be relevant for what you want to do as your career. There are a lot of high paying jobs that don’t require traditional higher education. Do your research and see if earning a certificate is the right choice for you.
Become An Apprentice
An apprenticeship is a great option because it lets you be a student, get on the job training, and get paid while doing it! You will completely avoid taking out student loans, which will save you money in the long run, while learning a relevant trade that will result in a high paying job. Apprenticeships can last anywhere from two to four years and you must have a high school diploma to be accepted into most of them.
Though it is still higher education, getting a degree online is less traditional and usually more cost-effective than attending a regular four-year institution. In addition to being a money saving alternative, most people who take online college courses are also working full-time, so the class times are very flexible. Keep in mind that taking online courses also requires discipline as you have to use your free time to learn, study and complete homework.
Join the Military
Joining the military can allow you to get specialized training in a lot of fields for a reduced amount, or even completely free. You can even attend ROTC programs in high school to see what military life is like first. The military is also a good option if you aren’t sure what career path you want to take yet. They will give you assessments to help you find where you fit best.
If you do plan on getting your higher education at a four-year college, but not sure what you want to major in, a community college is a great option. (If that is your plan, make sure your credits from the community college will transfer to the University of your choice.) It is also a great option if you just want to earn a certificate or an Associate’s Degree. Compared to a four-year college which can cost you thousands of dollars in tuition, a community college can cost around one thousand for in-state tuition. Even if you end up needing student loans, it will be a much more manageable amount to pay off. If you do choose to transfer to a University, attending a community college first could cut your tuition in half.