Looking for some alternatives to college? This is what you should do.

Sofia Alvarado

Either you’re here because you’re stuck and feel like college isn’t right for you or you are looking to take a gap year before you attend college, either way I am here to help.

This can be a very stressful time for those who feel pressured to go to college right after high school but know it’s not right for them. From experience I know you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. College isn’t for everyone. 

While there is a stigma attached to not having a college degree, there are other ways to make a proud living without going to college, and still make good money while doing it. 

Some students might be happier pursuing a path other than attending a four-year college education. Some alternatives include, Tradesman and Trade School, Volunteering, A Entry Level Job, Entrepreneurship and more!


If you’re undecided on what direction you want to go in the future, you should consider volunteering before going to college or any other path. You can enter a volunteering program like the Americorps or the Peace Corps, and make a difference while doing it. You will have options to further pursue  educational opportunities, gain benefits and if you volunteer overseas your housing and basic living needs are covered by the organization. 

Plus Upon returning to the United States, volunteers will receive a cash payment of $8,000 for their reallocation back to life in the United States. This can be a great way to take on an adventure you normally wouldn’t have done, while still not taking on the burden of student loan debt.

Tradesman and Trade School

Becoming a tradesman or entering a trade school can be a great alternative to going to a traditional college, especially if you like working with your hands. A skilled trade career offers the same benefits as a white-collar profession without the cost of a degree. From electrician, plumbing, welding metal work, and locksmith the opportunities are endless.

Vocational school is a form of education that is designed to teach students the valuable skills they need to perform a particular task or job. While going to a trade school you can start earning money while you’re in school. 

When you graduate, you have the potential to enjoy a career with good wages and job security. For example, if you become an electrician, you can apply at your local power company and start as a basic lineman. It’s hard work, but over time, you can work your way up through the ranks and earn a very nice salary. Some electricians find themselves earning over $70,000 by taking advantage of overtime and other opportunities.

Get An Entry Level Job

If you want to work, but becoming a Tradesman isn’t a good fit for you, consider getting an entry level job at a large company or get an internship. Many companies hire high school graduates into basic positions and it’s a great way to get started. Look for jobs in retail or the service industry for the most opportunities.

When starting out, you likely won’t make much more than minimum wage, but if you do well, you can typically rise through the ranks very quickly. In retail, you could move from hourly employee to shift supervisor, then even management. And being a retail manager can pay well about $40,000 or more in many areas of the United States.


Ever thought about starting your own business or creating your own product? If you have an idea, consider giving entrepreneurship a shot before going to college. When you’re young, it’s a lot easier to take a risk and get started than when you’re older. Just remember starting a business with little or no investment isn’t easy but since everything is online now it is a lot easier to get started.

Many famous entrepreneurs don’t have a college degree: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson. It requires long hours of hard work and dedicated commitment to your business. If you have an idea and want to pursue it, this path may be smarter for you than going to college.