There is a stereotype in the American mind that pictures a high school graduate packing up in the summer and then moving out of the house in the fall and attending a four-year college that they will graduate from and start their own careers and families right off the bat. The reason this is a stereotype, and legitimately so, is that this happens most often. However, this situation doesn’t fit every student. If your child happens to be one of those kids that just doesn’t fit the traditional slate for college, there are some alternatives to consider.
Many students graduate from high school and want to go straight into an apprenticeship program where they learn the skill of the career they are interested in and immediately start using that skill and making money from it. Beauty school, for example, is an alternative that many young women take advantage of because it is an opportunity to learn a skill that can be quickly applied to a career as soon as they pass the test and receive their license. There are thousands of apprenticeships all over the country in a range of different career choices. Many of these programs exist at smaller colleges and thus will cost far less than a four-year university.
Many artistic students from all realms of the arts find solace in attending conservatories and colleges that are dedicated entirely to specific fields in the arts. Some of the larger schools have programs for most art such as music, painting, theater, etc. However, some of the smaller conservatories concentrate exclusively on particular fields in the art world. Many times the conservatories are extremely hard to get into and require an audition to even be considered to attend. In such cases, grades are a huge part of the process while having great talent or skill is even more important. If that happens to be something artistic, why not send them to a place where they can become better and rub shoulders with people that they can work with for the rest of their lives.
Another educational opportunity lies in foreign programs. Many students find the idea of living in another country intriguing enough that they will work hard to get into exchange programs or even the actual foreign college itself. This can be a great opportunity for your child to travel and see the world while doing their schooling. How many opportunities come about when you are working and raising a family to just get up and go somewhere like that? These experiences will be life changing for your child and will actually force them to question some things that they thought were true their whole lives. Forming convictions and love for other cultures is a social and intellectually mature way of developing a mind. In many cases, students become more appreciative of what they had while growing up at home and will understand what it means to live in a country like America and the responsibilities that inherently are a part of that lifestyle.
There are many hundreds of other alternatives that can tweak your child’s college experience. The college experience should be unique for each student. In a way, your child will eventually pick a road in their post high school education that is an alternate to what the most popular choice is. This is what makes college such a personally gratifying experience when students realize what they are capable of doing themselves. College is no longer this long and hard expectation, but an opportunity to better oneself for the future.