10 Alternatives to College

Ginger Abbot

Jul 5, 2022
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Going to college can help you pursue a career. Yet, for some people, this isn’t a realistic goal. Several factors, such as cost and resources, can make attending college more challenging. So, here are 10 alternatives to a college education. 

1. Take a Gap Year

Some students choose to take a gap year instead of pursuing a degree right out of high school. This time can help you find yourself and discover your passions. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community. Find a cause you care about and look for opportunities. Use online resources to find organizations in your local area. 

Another way to spend time is traveling. Traveling is a great way to explore new cultures and grow as a person. It can also teach you real-world skills you wouldn’t learn in the classroom. 


Here are some of the other benefits traveling can provide:

  • Makes you healthier
  • Relieves stress
  • Boosts happiness
  • Enhances your creativity 
  • Lowers your risk of depression 

2. Turn Your Hobbies Into Cash 

Do you have a particular interest, like sewing? Selling your handmade items online is one of the alternatives to college. Let’s say you’re an excellent muffin baker. You can share your treats during a neighborhood bake sale. Whatever your passions, you can turn them into profits. 

Here are some more beneficial interests to consider:

  • Blogging
  • Photography
  • Video editing
  • Writing
  • Graphic design 

3.  Start a Business 

Starting a business can be a complex task. Yet, it can allow you to pursue your interests. You can even start small, such as a local food stand. These require minimal capital investment and can give you experience. Before starting your business, do market research. Learn about what potential customers need and what companies are already out there. 

You also will need to write a business plan and come up with the funds. You can get venture capital from investors or take out a loan to start your company. Then register your business, get tax state and federal tax IDs, and apply for licenses and permits. 

4.  Show Off Your Creative Skills

Do you have creative skills, such as photography, drawing, or graphic design? These skills are valuable to many organizations, which need to produce high-quality content. For example, all companies need designers to create their websites.

You can take online courses and market your skills on social media. Showing off your work can attract employers and help you land a career. 

5.  Build a Fan Base

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence can be beneficial. If you have a popular blog, website, or even podcast, you can monetize it. Also, if you produce engaging content on social media, you can become an influencer. Then companies will pay you to promote their products to your followers. 

Follow these tips to grow your social media following:

  • Choose the right platform 
  • Analyze your competitors 
  • Use hashtags
  • Be consistent with your brand
  • Engage with your audience 

6. Become an Author

If you enjoy being creative, then consider writing a book. While it may seem intimidating, keep in mind everyone has a unique perspective to share. It is one of the alternatives to college that involves excellent writing skills. 

Here are the basic steps to publishing your book:

1. Get feedback after you’re done writing

2. Choose a book title

3. Hire an editor

4. Create a kindle direct publishing account

5. Format and publish your book

6. Self-publish

7. Price your book

8. Advertise your novel

Keep in mind to find a good editor, use your network or hire a professional. Online resources, such as Ebook Launch, can help you find talent. Just be sure to get references and review their portfolio carefully. 

7. Attend a Vocational School 

Vocational schools allow you to learn skills needed for the trades. It sets you up for a specific career path, such as a nursing assistant. These fields of study often have a higher paying salary. 

Plus, these institutions usually require apprenticeships, which can give you on-the-job training. You can also earn this degree in around two years, less time than a traditional college. 

8. Go to a Coding Bootcamp

If you’re interested in programming, this is one of the excellent alternatives to college. It can give you the skills in just four months. These are intensive programs teaching topics, such as web development and data science. They can help you enter into a career right after you graduate high school. 

Here are some popular coding boot camps to check out:

  • Actualize
  • App Academy
  • Bloc 
  • Byte Academy
  • Coding Dojo

9. Get an Internship 

If you’re looking to gain some experience, internships are an excellent option. They are also low commitment and allow you to explore your interests freely. Plus, they may even lead to a job offer down the road. 

To find internships, use your network and ask friends and family for connections. You can also attend local job fairs or search online. Before attending the interview, make sure to research the company. 

10.  Join the Military 

Joining the military is an honorable job. It allows you to serve your community and gain new experiences. There are also career benefits, such as paid vacation and health insurance. It may be a more difficult path, but rewarding. To join the military, you will need to talk with a recruiter and enlist. During the process, you will need to take a physical exam. 

Best Alternatives to College

While many students go to college after high school, it isn’t the only option available. There are other paths that you can take. If you’re debating attending a university, consider these alternatives to college. 


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