Alternative pathways to traditional schooling

Finding your way in the world can be tricky. These days it is a little more normal to look at alternative routes. Not everything has to be done in the same way that your parents and grandparents did them. There are so many more options available now that if traditional schooling is not your thing or holds no interest to you then there are always alternative pathways you can take. This article will take you through some of the different options that are out there and how they can help you. 

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Online Schools

In recent years, the popularity of online high schools has risen. They have existed for quite a while but have never taken off quite so much before. The Utah online high school has shown a remarkable rise in reputation. If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it is that online schooling can not only be a possibility but can be truly successful. States have even adjusted some of their education budgets to meet the student demands for classes being put online. 

However, there are some detractors to this way of learning. Some educators are not a fan of online high schools because it removes the face-to-face interaction of normal schooling. They believe that students will not be able to develop proper social skills if they attend an online high school. As well as this, it can be difficult to see how students conduct their own learning and to help them develop. 

Online high school can be very useful though it all comes down to your own suitability. For students under 18, choosing online schooling over traditional schooling is a difficult one. They can give you a great education and provide flexibility, but they are usually designed with adults in mind. Regardless, if you find that traditional schooling is not for you then you should investigate online schools. 

Gap Years

Gap years are not the most traditional way to educate yourself but the life skills that you gain can help you become a well-rounded and proficient individual. Additionally, not everyone is ready to complete high school and dive straight into college. A gap year is a great way to mature and to explore more of the world. 

Though it should be noted that gap years are most beneficial when students have a well-thought-out plan for their year abroad. This can include travel arrangements, potential jobs to fund your travels, or even taking on an internship that will help you in the future. Apprenticeships and volunteering are also really good options. 

One way to secure the best of both worlds is to get accepted for a spot in a college but ask to defer admission for a year. This can still allow you to enter as a freshman when the year starts, and you are back from your travels but also can ensure that your financial aid remains intact. One thing you need to do is to keep on top of your deadlines and paperwork. 

Community College

Community colleges have long been looked down upon but that is no longer the case. It can be a great financial decision and be a really good fit for any student. If someone is looking for higher education but unsure whether they can afford or be able to commit to a bachelor’s degree, then community college can be a useful stepping stone.  

Community college allows for a student to explore various ideas of academic interest and to earn some basic credits. Students are also able to work whilst they go to community college which will allow for an exploration of different career options. Also, many community colleges offer associate degrees in technical and skilled trade fields that are not often directly available through traditional schooling. 

Trade and Technical Schools

Trade and technical schools offer specific training for vocational skilled careers. These jobs usually require two years or less of training. The USA is in the middle of a skilled labor shortage because of the lack of necessary training. By going to these schools, a student can earn a living whilst earning the experience that will help them land better-paid jobs.

If you are more interested in this type of work, then going to a trade school may be the better option for you. Being stuck in a four-year college course that doesn’t interest you will not only be a financial drain but an emotional one as well. A bachelor’s degree is not the only way to earn a well-paid job, and, in many cases, a degree does not guarantee one.


For many high school students, the military seems like a backup option for them. However, it has diverse branches and areas of service that present good options for those looking to develop personally and practically. Benefits include a salary, room, and board, as well as college tuition through the GI Bill with retirement after 20 years.

One bonus that not many people know about is that the military will train you for a career after your years of service so that you can enter the workforce with experience when you leave. Additionally, you can also attend a military college that will allow you to receive an officer’s commission after graduation in your choice of service branch.

It should be noted that the training will be hard and that this is not a decision that should not be taken lightly. The military is not for everyone and as such you should research this option carefully. You should speak to ex-military personnel and your local careers advisor.

Alternative Pathways

Leaving traditional schooling is a difficult decision and there is no easy way to come to a conclusion. You have to discover what works for you and what will suit your lifestyle. Knowing that there are different options is half the battle. You are not stuck following the usual route. There are so many different options, even more than those listed here. You should take time to assess your options and find which one will work for you in your career.

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