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High School Series: Alternatives to College

As your high schooler gets closer to the milestone of graduation, many homeschool families start to prepare for the next step. College is the most common first thought, however, there are other college alternatives that can also help pave the way for your high schooler’s bright future.

 

Why not College?

  • Many people assume that after high school comes college. This is a huge mistake and a pressure that isn’t always good to put on a high schooler. There are many reasons that college might not be the best choice for your homeschooler. Here are the most concerning. Students Loans- It is no surprise that college is becoming more and more expensive. The Institute for College Access and Success states, “In 2012, 71% of all students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt.”

 

  • Not always Beneficial – A college degree doesn’t always pay off. Along with the aforementioned debt, the ability to find a well-paying job may be difficult. A degree and even a major may not matter. Many employers look for experience rather than formal education.

 

  • College just isn’t for everyone- College can be hard and daunting. The pressure to make a high school career choice and stick with that is burdening. It also comes with added stress financially and mentally. If the student isn’t motivated and driven then time there can be a waste and end with the student dropping out.

 

What are the Alternatives to College?

Volunteer

One great idea for after high school is to volunteer. This can help build confidence, maturity, and a sense a pride in the new graduate. This also could also provide some real-world knowledge and include travel!  

 

African Conservation Experience

Does your high schooler have a passion for animals? If so, they might enjoy volunteering on a sustainable wildlife conservation project.

 

Habitat for Humanity

Is your teen ready for hard work? Building homes for in need families might be a good fit! Stay in the United States or travel abroad. If your homeschool knows of five or more other people that want to join (ages 16-25) they can form a group and take part in the Collegiate Challenge.  

 

Peace Corps

If your homeschooler is 18 or older and is ready to dedicate two years to making a difference in the world – then this program might be the right fit. If your high schooler isn’t 18 yet, there is also a Peace Corps for Teens that could be an option.  

 

There are many other volunteer ideas for after high school. Check out these 7 Free Volunteer Programs for more ideas!

 

Become an Entrepreneur

Homeschooling allows students to cultivate their hobbies, ideas, and passions. Your high schooler can turn these interests into their own business! This route isn’t the easiest but there are many young millionaire entrepreneur stories to help inspire your high schooler.

 

Your teen may need some guidance to become a homeschool entrepreneur.  If you still have some time before graduation, help your homeschooler foster their entrepreneurial skills to give them a head start!

 

Internships/Apprenticeship/ Work Study  

Maybe your high schooler has a general idea of what career they want to pursue. An internship (also call work study and apprenticeship) might be the right avenue for your homeschooler to get an up-close look at that career!

 

Start local and don’t be afraid to ask around. Just because an internship isn’t posted doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be willing to take on a dedicated graduate. You can also search for nearby internships and hopefully one will fit for your homeschooler.

 

Military Service

Is your homeschooler interested in joining the military? The military is a great alternative option to college because it provides amazing life experience. The military can also offer many benefits (such as scholarships) for if/when your high schooler does think about college.

 

Join the Workforce

Encourage your homeschooler to get an entry-level job. This one might seem odd but it is the easiest option for your high schooler. Joining the workforce not only helps to provide work experience but will also provide career exploration for your homeschooler. Not to mention, the ability to grow from the entry-level position later on in life if they find they enjoy their place of business.

 

Take time to think about the wants and needs of your homeschooler before planning for life after high school. Don’t assume that college is always the best. Search out volunteer and internship opportunities, look into military options, examine entrepreneurial ideas, and check out entry-level jobs. As with homeschooling, find something that fits your teens wants, interests, and needs to ensure life success!

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