Not everyone wants to go to college! While college preparation is useful for every student whether or not they attend college, that doesn't mean your student MUST earn a four-year degree. We want our children to be independent, thriving young adults, and there are options beyond college to consider. What would you add to this list of college alternatives?
2. Associates Degree from a 2-year college
3. CLEP® college credits
4. Coach a skill
5. Coding boot camps
6. Community college
7. Community service
8. DSST college credits
9. Earn a certificate
11. Entry level positions
12. Etsy shop
13. Gap Year
14. Get a job
16. Job training program
17. Military enlistment
18. Missionary service
19. Online college
20. Realtor license
21. Start a business
22. Start a non-profit
23. Technical college
24. Trade schools
26. Vocational school
29. Write a book
After high school, your children gradually transition into adulthood. Some children jump ahead of the line, eagerly seeking college or career. Other kids do best with a slow start option. Some children prefer to play video games and not become adults at all.
You see, graduation isn't actually your goal. Successfully launching your children into the world of adults is the real goal!
It's hard to know what the future holds because teenagers are moving targets, constantly changing their minds from one career option to the next. Many of the college alternative paths will require your student to provide their transcript for application or participation. The only way to be prepared for anything is to have a transcript ready to go at all times. Is your transcript ready?
Listen, Michelle sent me a sheepish question not long ago. Her daughter is 24, and Michelle hadn't made a transcript. Suddenly her daughter wants to go to college and has a full ride scholarship all ready for her - but she needs a transcript from her mom! Remember, her mom hasn't actually been homeschooling her for the past 6 years!
You may be nervous about making a transcript, but won't it be even harder in 6 years? Please, get your transcript done now. Update your transcript every year, so you are ready for whatever your child decides to do.
Choosing a career for your child is not something you need to do in high school, and it's certainly not something you can do for another adult. So let's talk about my top tips for helping your child choose their career path.
1. Choosing a career is up to the student
As your child gets older, it eventually becomes their job to choose their path, which may or may not require a college degree. They will change their minds many times in high school but will ultimately make the final decision as an adult.
2. Always be prepared for any career choice
Your job, then, is to be prepared for anything that your child will choose, from communications, to trade school, to chemistry. You do that by covering core classes, taking the SAT® or ACT®, researching trade schools and alternative programs, choosing a variety of colleges where you might get scholarships, and being flexible with changing attitudes throughout the process.
3. Include career exploration within your homeschool
Give your child lots of experiences that help them choose a future path. That may sound scary, but that just means including delight directed learning. That lets the child test different careers, skills, and tasks involved in different jobs.
4. Consider college options
It may turn out that your child ends up choosing a career that does require a college degree. Go to a college fair and start college visits early so you can gather information. I'd encourage you to visit all colleges within a few hours of home, or within a few hours of a loved relative, if need be. That will give you a variety of colleges to choose from. In order to get scholarships, you need to have 4-8 colleges where you will apply - colleges you have visited and taken notes on. By starting now you will be well prepared. Talk to each college about programs and degrees that fit your child's career interests.
By following these suggestions, you will be in the PERFECT PLACE to be prepared for anything.
If college is a part of your student's path, don't let your decision about college be based on finances alone. It's possible to earn a 4-year college degree without going into debt. College can be a wonderful experience, growing and challenging young adults to make the world a better place. Christians are called to go into the whole world, without exception, and college may be the right path. When college is the right direction, be sure your student can graduate debt-free, or with so little debt it can be repaid within a year. If you need help making sure that your student can get college scholarships, read Homeschool Scholarships for College or take my free class Super Scholarships for Humble Homeschoolers.
Learn more about the options after high school, because high school graduation isn't just an ending - it's the beginning of something else too! Do you have a plan? Read my article, Options After High School. For even more information, grab my Coffee Break Book, Options After High School: Steps to Success for College or Career. By researching and keeping your options open, you can find alternatives to college that fit your student's needs. There really is something for everyone.
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