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The student voice of Detroit's High Schools.

You don’t have to go to college right after high school

An honest truth after graduation is that one does not want to go straight to school for another four years. 

So, who says you have to? There are various alternatives to attending a four-year university right after graduation. These include taking a gap year, traveling abroad, attending a community college,or learning a trade.

A gap year between high school and college can be a helpful thing for people who would like to pursue higher education, but are not quite ready to head back to school. It can be a refreshing time in one’s life. It allows you to figure out what you want to do in life or if you even want to go back to school. During this time, you can better get to know your skill set, or you can discover new things about yourself, perhaps a new passion. Learning these things can ultimately help you decide what direction you would like your life to go. 

You can also travel abroad. Doing so can be a very insightful experience, as you are able to learn about different cultures and expand your knowledge of the world. On, pastor, author and educator Dr. Herron Keyon Gaston described his experience in traveling to El Salvador with a group of Yale University students.

“It helped me to realize that the world is a complex mixture of cultures, beliefs, traditions, experiences and perspectives,” he wrote.

Traveling abroad can be a great way to educate yourself without actually going to school. An enriching experience may be just what you need to open your eyes and broaden your horizons.

There is an option that still involves going to school right after graduation, but for a shorter period of time. Community colleges don’t carry the same prestige as four-year universities and the degree type is different, yet they still offer numerous benefits. Some of these include less tuition money, and smaller class sizes. Perhaps you want to go to school, but four years seems too much and too soon. By going to a community college, you’re still able to learn at a higher level. Starting small is a great way to build your momentum and later could lead to a four-year university. It’s a valid opportunity to continue your education.

In addition, instead of attending a four-year university, you could learn a trade. Sometimes, it’s not what you know, but what you can do. So, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to perform certain tasks. Being able to do so can better your chances at jobs and future careers. If learning a trade is not your main focus, it’s still good to have a certain set of skills as a back up plan. You never know when they may come in handy.

Going to a four-year university after graduating is something many people dream of. Yet, there are alternatives to doing so. All of which impact you as a person and your future.


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