For many young people, getting a higher education at college or university is the first and most common-sense choice. However, life doesn’t always go to plan and there may be things that get in the way of you achieving your goals. For example, illness could get in the way of you finishing your exams or you may be rejected by your desired colleges. It can seem like your world is falling apart and you may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, not being able to get a degree right now doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Take a look at these alternatives for some inspiration on what to do next.
Start a Business
Did you know that 14% of the current American workforce is self-employed and operate a business entirely on their own? Working for yourself has never been more possible than it is now. In fact, thanks to the wonders of the internet, it doesn’t cost much to set up a business either. There’s now far more advantage in operating an ecommerce store than there is a bricks and mortar store, not to mention all the costs you’ll avoid. If you think you need a degree to manage a business well and make a good earning, think again. Names like Richard Branson, Walt Disney and Bill Gates come to mind, none of which had a degree. Sometimes, all it takes is a good idea, passion and some perseverance.
There seems to be some kind of snobbery when it comes to the thought of community college, but there shouldn’t be. Learning is learning, no matter where you are or how you do it. You may not be able to gain the type of degree you were hoping for at community college, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be of use. In fact, there are many benefits to going straight from high school to community college. The first is that it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as a degree does, so it’s more affordable for families on a low income. The second is that it makes the transition into a degree much more bearable. You’ll learn what it takes to study intensely at a gradual pace, rather than being thrown right in the deep end. See what’s on offer and you could come away with everything you need to start a career where you can climb the ladder. You may even find that you beat your fellow students, who have a degree, to the same spot.
If all you want is a career that will remain secure for the foreseeable future, going into a trade is an ideal choice. Trades like, building, plumbing or electrics will always be of value to people. When you’ve developed the skills you need and have the certifications to prove it, you have two choices. You can either work for a trades company or startup your own business. Because you’ll have skills that are in high demand, you’ll have a certain amount of flexibility. You can often do your vocational training at a technical school. The courses are full-time and affordable and once you’re finished you’re likely to be making the same kind of salary as someone with a degree, if not more. One of the other benefits is that you’re almost guaranteed a job as soon as you finish your studies, unlike graduates who are just leaving college. It often takes a graduate up to year to find a suitable job because there are so many people applying for the same roles.
Follow Your Passion
Do you enjoy painting? Why not try and sell some of your work? Following a passion doesn’t just have to be a hobby. These days, there are many people interested in bespoke work because everyone wants to be unique. It’s much easier now to turn a passion into a salary. Whether you enjoy writing, creating music or sports, there will be a way to make money from it too. However, establishing a career out of your passion can take time and money. So, it’s often a choice of which do you want the most – a degree or a career you’re passionate about. Studying a degree will mean that your passions may have to take a side line and you’ll probably leave college with a significant amount of debt.
Just because you didn’t get into college this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t try again next year. In the meantime, you could use the time you have to travel the world and gain some more insight about life and yourself. This is an option many students are voluntarily taking. One, because it’s a break from studying, and two, because travelling has a way of maturing you that college just can’t offer. Being out in the world, on your own, will teach you things you can’t learn in a classroom. You’ll have the advantage of gaining some real life skills, which employers value highly. It will teach you to manage your finances well, be accepting of other ways of living and different cultures and you may change your mind entirely about what you want for the future. It’s likely that you’ll have to work while you’re travelling to ensure you have the money to live properly. Having those jobs on your resume, as well as an eventual degree, could put you ahead of the competition.
Volunteering can be rewarding for many reasons. Perhaps you’ve lived with dogs your whole life and would like to volunteer at a dog rescue or you have a passion for working with children and would like to volunteer at a children’s charity. Although you may not be paid for your time, it doesn’t mean volunteer work isn’t worth doing. In fact, it can often open many doors. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing and enjoy giving back, it may be noticed. It’s not impossible to climb up the ladder and get offered a paid position. Even if it doesn’t amount to anything, volunteer work looks great on a resume. It shows you’re willing to work, even when you’re getting very little for it. Volunteering is also a great way to build character, and it teaches you to think positively about life.
Becoming an apprentice is like killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, you’ll be gaining qualifications and experience on the job, which is often more valuable than learning something in theory. Secondly, you’ll get paid for your work. It may not be much, but at least you’ll be earning something while you’re studying. Take a look at what’s on offer, like nursing vacancies. It also means you won’t have to pay to gain your qualifications. It’s the best way to become skilled at what you do because you don’t have the option of making mistakes. The only downside to an apprenticeship is that they’re becoming so popular, you often have to compete with large numbers if you want a spot.
The Armed Forces
Many parents try to steer their teens away from joining the armed forces because they’re scared of the potential dangers. That’s understandable, but for many people, the armed forces is an ideal choice. Perhaps you enjoy fitness, have good coordination and quick reaction times. Maybe you thrive under pressure and believe you could serve your country well. If you’re willing to accept the fact that the job is dangerous and you may lose friends during your time serving, the army could offer you more than a job. It often becomes a second home too.
Whatever you decide, know that you have plenty of options.