Practical Alternatives to College


The high cost of college is often the primary reason people choose college alternatives after they graduate high school. At NexTech High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our students do not pay fees because we are a publicly funded charter school. This is the first step to helping students prepare and afford to seek college after graduation. Even with that assistance - we do know college isn’t the best option for everyone. There are plenty of excellent options to look at. 

NexTech High School offers students the chance to acquire new skills and prepare for careers. We provide a healthy blend of face-to-face and online studies with flexible schedules. What do you do if you decide college is not for you, but you want to continue your education after graduation?

First off, congratulations on graduating! This is a big accomplishment.

From a young age, children are advised to work hard in school, go to college and get a degree to secure a good job in the future. Many youths follow this advice, thinking it is the only way to a successful future. It is worth noting that college isn't the only path to landing a good job or having a successful career. There are multiple college alternatives to acquire more skills and build your career.  

Many students find that they learn better when fully immersed in the career field they want to follow. Tuition fees for non-college options can often be much cheaper than four-year colleges and offer students access to career courses in the areas they wish to specialize in. If you decide that a traditional university isn’t for you, consider the following alternatives.


Reasons to Consider Alternatives to College

Below are several reasons people consider college alternatives.

  • The high cost of fees leaves students in a mountain of debt.
  • No time for investments and personal life.
  • Some college degrees may not match what you wish to study.
  • Earning a college degree takes two to four years, depending on the type of degree.
  • Going for part-term study in college may cause you to spend more years in college.


What to do Instead of College

Join Vocational Education and Trade Schools

Vocational or technical colleges and trade schools are good alternatives to college. These institutions do not typically require students to spend much time in the classroom. Vocation colleges and trade schools offer studies in welding, law enforcement, automotive, nursing, cosmetology, health science, firefighting, and dental, among other options. With this kind of college, you can quickly identify an area of study in your career path and acquire new skills. 

Go for Self-Paced Free and Paid Resources

The essential thing in life is identifying your passion before considering a college alternative. When you find your passion, you can go for a self-paced option that can either be free or paid. Such options may include designing, coding, illustration, and video production, among other related opportunities. You can acquire skills and apply them to build your career from there.

Choose a Travel Career

Traveling gives you maximum exposure and enables you to leave your comfort zone, adapt to new situations, interact with strangers and learn new languages. If you love traveling, this could be an excellent option and a college alternative where you become more resilient and self-confident as you learn problem-solving skills. However, traveling isn't cheap. It comes with many limitations and cost implications. So, you should have savings prepared.

Become an Apprenticeship 

Apprenticeship is a training system in a particular profession where you work as you earn, but the wages aren't high. This is among many other areas where you do not require a degree to get a job. Taking up an apprenticeship nurtures your talents as you meet the needs of the organization you are working for. Types of apprenticeships include masonry, plumbing, woodworking, electrical work, construction, manufacturing, and other similar specialties.

Military Service

Military service is an excellent alternative to learning a wide range of skills and traveling to new locations as you meet and interact with others. In the military, you can access training programs such as aviation and engineering. You will also be able to serve the community and become a great team player as you grow your skills. It is about hard work, focus, positive energy, and dedication in the military.

Online College Options

Online courses can be a great alternative to on-campus college enrollment. You don't need to be in the classroom physically to acquire education. Choosing an online college attendance or fully online college vs. on campus lets you study from any location. Online colleges and online college options offer part-time and full-time courses. You can choose an option that fits your learning style. This flexible on-campus college alternative gives you more time to do other things.


Starting a business doesn't require a degree. You can set up a business and succeed if you have the right ideas and apply effective strategies to market and grow your business. Even if it is your first business, you can still be successful as you learn new skills. Companies come with many challenges. So, you should set a solid foundation and find ways to mitigate risks and issues.

Work Your Way Up

It is possible to start where you are and grow no matter the challenges. Consider putting in more effort in whatever you are currently doing or get a new job in an organization that values its workers. Some employers offer training programs and growth opportunities that give employees a platform to build their skills and grow their careers.


Get Your Teen a Quality Education at NexTech High School - Preparing Teens for Successful Adulthood 

Are you looking to give your teen a chance to learn, acquire skills and own their future? Then look no further and enroll them at NexTech High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At NexTech High School, students learn real-world skills at their pace. They receive hands-on training in the field they want to advance in while developing leadership skills. Our college is AdvancED Accredited and provides quality and rigorous education to our students. Want to learn more about NexTech High School? Contact us at 616-458-4992 for a free consultation.