Not everyone is ready for college directly after high school. College requires an investment of time, energy, focus, and money that not every high school graduate is ready to commit.
Below are five alternatives to going straight to a four-year college:
1. Take Time to Refocus and Recharge
High school grads may experience burnout after completing senior year of high school and might just need a break. Even first daughter Malia Obama took a gap year instead of heading straight to Harvard. They may need to step away from it all. Taking time off to figure out what’s best for their future could provide them with a better understanding of what to do next.
2. Complete an Internship
Recent high school grads that aren’t ready to jump into college can also intern in a field they find interesting. Yes—there are internships for those that only have a high school diploma. Grads will develop skills and gain valuable hands-on experience, and they can begin to develop a professional network. Furthermore, an internship could lead to a full-time job.
3. Get a Job
Working teaches myriad responsibilities, from time management, to budgeting finances, and working with others. Having a job engages one in real-life experiences. They will not only earn money, but they will get the chance to see if the work is worth pursuing as a career.
4. Take College Courses
If your kids are certain that they’re not ready to commit to a four-year college, taking a few courses is a great way to get a feel for what college is like. By taking only one or two courses, recent high school grads can concentrate on a lighter course load while also handling other important responsibilities.
Taking college courses also creates an opportunity to explore areas of interests and possible majors, should your child decide to attend college in the future. They may even opt to take online classes, which provides flexibility and convenience. Just make sure online courses are legit. One good resource to support research on this front is onlinecollegeplan.com, which says it lists the best online programs offered through historically black colleges. However, make sure to do your own vetting, too.
5. Enroll in Community College
Though your child may not be ready to attend a four-year institution, a community college may serve them well. There are several advantages to attending a two-year school. Not only is it less costly, most are open admission—accepting students with a high school diploma or GED. In addition, they can earn an associate degree in two years, then transfer as a junior to a four-year institution, once they have met certain requirements.
A student may eventually end up on the campus of a four-year college or university, but it may not happen directly after high school—and that’s okay.
This post was written by Chelsea Dixon, M.S., M.A.T.