A recent study showed that nearly half of recent college grads are currently in jobs that don’t actually require a college degree. While their degrees may have certainly helped them attain those jobs, the degrees aren’t a necessity. Some students find the idea of a traditional, private school daunting, especially when faced with the cost of the school. If you aren’t sure you want to commit to four years of further education and a significant amount of debt, there are plenty of options out there besides traditional, private colleges. You may eventually decide to go to a traditional or private college or it may be your choice from the beginning, which is fine, but it’s also important to be aware of the other options available.

Community colleges

One of the most popular options for students that aren’t interested in a traditional, four-year college is to pursue an education at a community college. These colleges are traditionally much less expensive than private schools and you often have the option of getting a two-year associate degree. If you’re unsure what you’d like to do, you can start taking general education classes at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. Some community colleges also give you the option of getting a bachelor’s degree and you’ll be able to do so at a much lower cost.

Technical schools

An often overlooked higher education option is a technical or vocational school. Some of these schools even offer programs to students currently in high school so they can graduate with a certification and capabilities to get a quality, well-paying job immediately after high school. If your high school offers classes at a tech school, go ahead and get a certification in something that interests you. If you decide to pursue a more traditional college degree later on, you’ll be able to work and save money beforehand.

Family businesses

Plenty of students know someone in their family or a family friend who owns their own business. For those who have connections to family businesses, this option is completely valid for a future career. Often, these students have been working in the family business for many years and understand the ins and outs of the company. If it’s a small company, it can likely be taken over by someone with a high school degree because they’ll learn more about working at the company on the job.


While entrepreneurship is fairly hit or miss unless you have an explosive business idea like Facebook, it is still an option for some. There are students who become entrepreneurs in high school and are able to follow their dreams and run their own businesses without a formal college education. Some education could be necessary, but if you get lucky as an entrepreneur, you may never need to attend a private college or even get a formal college degree. Taking just a few individual classes could be enough for what you’re doing.

Take time off

If you just haven’t decided what to do after you graduate high school, there is always the option of simply taking time off. You could work part-time and save for college or just simply take time to decide what you want to do while working a bit. If you’re taking time off, you could also spend it volunteering and giving your time toward a great cause. Then, whether you decide to find a full-time job or attend school, you’ll have quality experience and knowledge from when you took time-off.