What Are The Alternatives To College

Apr 10, 2022 | 0 comments

A four-year university appears to be the standard next step for high school graduates, regardless of whether or not they have a future career in their minds. There are plenty of excellent jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s It’s worth looking into every option.

Alternatives to college, such as trade schools or apprenticeships, may be more suitable for some students. Here are five options for college at a four-year institution.

alternatives to college

Community college

  • Also known as Two-year or junior college
  • The typical length is one to two years
  • Credentials: Associate degree or certificate

Community colleges are usually local public schools that provide two main pathways for students, including transfer preparation and job education. The transfer path is intended for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher from another institution or university. Classes in this program are typically academic. The career-training route is designed for students who wish to work soon after graduation. These classes usually teach specific skills that you could employ in the workplace.

No matter which route you take, make sure you have a plan and plan. If you’re considering transferring to another institution, contact your advisor frequently to ensure the credits you earn transfer correctly. If you’re working towards a specific job, ensure you acquire the necessary credential for that field.


  • Also is known as Job-based Learning
  • A typical length of time: One or six years
  • Certifications: Nationally recognized industry certification

Apprenticeships are paid programs for career training that allow students to learn on the job and some instruction in the classroom. Apprentices are employed full-time and earn about $15 an hour, increasing as their capabilities develop. Career fields offering apprenticeships include manufacturing, construction trades, finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and transportation.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, there are, at present, over 600,000 apprentices working across the U.S., an insignificant number compared to the 16.6 million students who were enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities as of the fall of 2019 as per the National Center for Education Statistics. There is bipartisan support from the private sector and both parties to expand apprenticeships, however, as it’s true that the amount of apprentices available is small, they could be competitive for applicants or be offered, and there could be a waiting list.

Trade school

  • Also referred to as Career, technical or vocational school.
  • The typical length is one to two years or less
  • Credentials: Certificate

Trade schools are generally private institutions — many are not-for-profit and help students prepare for the field of work immediately after completing their education. A lot of community colleges offer similar and possibly less expensive programs. Trade schools are provided in many areas, such as automobile mechanics and welding and heating and cooling (HVAC ).

Make sure you research trade schools before enrolling. For-profit institutions tend to be more expensive and require students to carry more outstanding debt, which can result in lower outcomes when compared to non-profit or public schools. Find a school recognized by the federal financial aid. Then, use the department of education’s College Scorecard to compare schools with their typical cost, graduation rates, and median earnings from former students.

Online college

  • Also called Distance learning, Massive open online courses (MOOCs)
  • Expected length: Vary depending on the credential you’re seeking
  • Certificates or associate bachelor’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree

College online gives students the freedom to study according to their schedule and pace, so you’re motivated enough to stay on top of the course. It’s an excellent alternative for parents, full-time employees, and students who have disabilities.

Some schools only offer online classes, whereas many brick-and-mortar schools offer online courses and in-person courses. Based on the offerings of your school and location and your preferences, you may choose to take all of your classes online or take some on the internet and some in person. In either case, you should research the school before registering to ensure that it is affordable and accredited and have an established track record of preparing students for success upon completing their studies.

Coding Bootcamp

  • Also known as”coding school.
  • The typical length is short-term, generally shorter than four months.
  • Credentials: Certificate.

If you’re considering starting a career in design or creating apps and websites and apps, a Coding Bootcamp is a good option. It’s either online or in-person short-term, intensive mobile and web development courses, security, or design. The programs are run by private and for-profit businesses that are not accredited colleges and trade schools. This means that you won’t be eligible for government student assistance to finance the courses. Costs will differ based on location and whether you’re attending in person or on the internet.

Bootcamps are private businesses, which means they’re not subjected to oversight by the government. You’ll have to conduct your research before choosing an accredited program. Begin by contacting the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, a non-profit organization that monitors graduation and employment outcomes in the boot camps for coding. You can also find a review online, read news articles and connect with alumni via LinkedIn to provide feedback.

Other options

However, these aren’t the only colleges to consider. You could also join the military, create your own business, get experience, earn money while learning what you like and excel at, and find a job at an entry level.

How can I be able to pay

If you are considering higher education, whether in a four-year institution or university, community college, or trade school, make sure you are paying for it. The first step is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA, to find out the government grants and work-study, and student loans you are eligible for.

If you must get student loans, you should exhaust your federal options before taking out private student loans since federal loans come with more security. If you go to an accredited technical school that is private, there is a chance that the school has its loan programs, or similar to the “buy now and make payments later” finance option. Check out the programs offered at these schools to the ones provided by the nearby community college. Beware that the rates could be higher than federal student loans.