Here Are 5 Alternatives to Traditional College That Move Students Forward For Less

A generation or two ago it was unheard of to not go to college if you had the chance. For good reason, college was viewed as a critical opportunity to launch into life with important knowledge and skills.

Nowadays, however, things are different. We have computers in our pockets. The cost of gaining information has been dramatically reduced. College isn’t the sure-fire level-up it used to be. With so many college graduates now facing almost insurmountable debt, the consensus is changing. Maybe college isn’t for everyone, after all.

If your student doesn’t go to college, what should they do? Here are five ideas to provide a productive education and life preparation plan for your student that will save them from a lot of debt.

1. Trade School

If your student is interested in a trade, they should seriously consider going to a trade school instead of college. In fact, this is perhaps one of the most obvious cases where college isn’t the right fit.

Trade schools are designed to teach job-ready trade skills, not academic knowledge. If your student already has an interest in the trades, then you should encourage them to think about trade school as a productive alternative to college. 

Why go and pay thousands to take classes that you won’t use in a future career when you could go and learn job-ready skills for much less?

The future of education in your inbox.

Get productivity tips, commentary, and Unbound updates sent to you!

2. Apprenticeships & Internships

Similar to trade schools, apprenticeships and internships offer a practical education in skills and work experience. The added dimension with these, often lacking at a trade school, is real work experience.

Often, if an apprenticeship or internship goes well, it can lead to full-time job opportunities down the road. Building a relationship with a company and earning real-world work experience is not just a great boost to a resume. It can lead to some great long-term opportunities.

3. A Gap Year

Sometimes, rather than jumping into further education or a structured training program, high school graduates may find taking a gap year to be the most beneficial course of action.

A gap year is essentially a “year off” from formal education. It’s usually taken after high school and may involve travel, personal projects, or full-time work. A gap year is a great option when a student doesn’t know exactly what they want to pursue after high school. It gives them an opportunity to try different things out. 

You can read more about making the most of your gap year here.

4. Entrepreneurship

Perhaps your student wants to own a business one day. Or maybe they’re just overflowing with ideas of how to improve life for those around them.

College has some valuable things to teach a budding entrepreneur but nothing quite beats actually doing it. Perhaps, instead of attending classes in college that teach business finances, your student would be better off actually starting a business and learning from experienced mentors and their own experience.

Admittedly, there is a lot of risk in entrepreneurship. But if you think about it, there’s also risk in going to college, spending thousands, and missing out on early opportunities to build something amazing!

5. Non-Traditional Higher Education

Finally, if your student is looking for a degree but doesn’t want to go deep into debt, they have other options.

In our world today there are so many ways you can earn college credit through online classes, accredited exams (like CLEP), and other programs.

Ascend by Unbound is one such program. Ascend combines practical, hands-on, project-based education with Christian community, leadership training, and online college classes to provide students with a well-rounded education. Schedule a free consultation by March 25, 2022 to be eligible for $150 off enrollment.

Download the FREE EBook!

Equip your high school student for the real world. Includes 50+ project ideas to get you started!