When not to go: Exploring post high school alternatives to college

Abigail McArthur-Self, Editor-in-Chief

Although the guidance department at Neuqua frequently mentions that there are options besides college after high school, the pressure to attend a traditional two- or four- year university can be immense and the paths to other alternatives unclear. Students at Neuqua may not be discouraged from seeking other options, but those seeking to start a job, find an intern/apprenticeship or apply to a trade school do not get the same automatic updates and reminders as students preparing for college. 

There is no one size fits all solution for students. Some may have entrepreneurial endeavors or non-profit work that could become a life for them. These are valid options and often the first to come up when looking for options outside of college. Many students, however, won’t have the experience or connections necessary to go into these roles directly after high school. 

There are many jobs available to high school graduates. Each individual that chooses this path will go through their own job search, much like their college-bound peers. Rather than writing essays, they will need to learn how to build a resume. This will typically include contact information, previous experience (if any), education and skills, and any references — people like teachers or coaches who can vouch for your work ethic or skills. 

Students with interests in specific careers like plumbing or auto-repair may seek apprenticeships under skilled and experienced professionals or apply to trade schools. Applying to a trade school is similar to applying to a college. Most schools will have applications on their websites. The requirements vary between schools. Some community colleges, such as the College of DuPage, also offer vocational programs and technical degrees, not just two year degrees. 

Volunteer work is another option students may consider. Organisations like the Peace Corps employ people of all ages for humanitarian work around the globe. The skill requirements vary depending on the job, so students must consider their own educational background and skills, especially language skills if they want to volunteer in a non-English speaking country. Applications are usually available online for these jobs as well. 

Students may also enlist in one of the United States’ military branches if they are a citizen, 18 years or older and have a high school diploma. Potential enlistees must also pass a physical exam. To begin the process, students should seek out local recruitment centers. 

No matter what Neuqua students decide to do after high school, every path begins with research. Although Neuqua does not provide ubiquitous reminders for every option, the College and Career Center is open to students seeking more information or help with specialised applications.