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College Alternatives

Skilled trades, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships, and guilds are excellent college alternatives.

Learning should be a lifelong endeavor for every human, but learning doesn't have to involve a college degree unless that is something that fits your gifts or calling. There are many college alternatives and non-traditional college options, and I've written about these on the Doing What Matters blog. Here are links to a few articles that may provide some food for thought.

College Alternatives, Part 1: Skilled Trades

After the last two posts on financial aid, there were a few private comments about how hard it can be for a student to qualify for some types of aid. Honestly, it is easier now than it has ever been. There are all sorts of programs, initiatives, and projects, all designed to get more people into college.

College is a good thing, but perhaps not for everyone. Not every student is called to a profession that requires college. Not every student is ready for college right out of high school. Not every student is intellectually inclined toward a higher education. For some students, a hands-on trade is exactly where their skills, talents, and interests lie, and that is a good thing, too. 

College can be a wonderful learning experience for an engaged, motivated student, but for some, it’s just an expensive party venue with a long-lasting bill. If you have students who maintain they don’t need college, don’t want it, or don’t understand the purpose and meaning of education, it is probably not the right time to go to college. It is better to wait until they are ready . . . Read more.


College Alternatives, Part 2: Entrepreneurship, Apprenticeship, and Guilds

The last College Alternatives post focused on the skilled trades, such as machinist, electrician, arborist, and others. Since college has been pushed as a primary option for most students, there has been a labor shortage in many of the trades, making them a good alternative or second skill to develop.

Trades are not for everyone, though, so the final two college options I’ll talk about are entrepreneurship and learning through apprenticeships or guilds. Even if your student eventually decides to attend college, he or she can benefit by having one or more of these experiences during high school. Read more.


Of Daffodils and Diesels, Revisited

This classic essay by an unknown author has been around since I began homeschooling, and I often recommend it to parents of children who just don’t fit the college-bound mold. As it becomes more and more common to try to shove every student into a college, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this essay and think about the consequences of expecting every young person to walk the same path. As much as I value the beauty found in literature, art, and music and enjoy studying it, I realize that the world would be a wee bit lopsided if everyone were just like me. We need machinists and mechanics, soldiers and sailors, builders and bricklayers as much as we need authors, artists, and scholars. Each plays a much-needed role in society, and we do a disservice to young people when we imply that only one type of gift is valuable. No matter what society tries to convey, a worker who diligently and ethically practices a trade can earn an excellent living . . . Read more.


Non-Traditional Ways of Earning College Credit

You may not want to skip college, but just get a head start on it, or perhaps take a few interesting classes. You'll find a couple of articles in the Early College category on this site, and the college alternative and early college categories on my Doing What Matters blog. I'll try to add more resources here as I write or discover them.
Skilled trades, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships, and guilds are excellent college alternatives.

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