An Alternative Adventure

By Piper G.

For most students, the idea of a four-year college seems like a definitive next step after high school. For many, there are other options besides a four-year college that will lead them to be successful and provide a unique perspective on life.  

An option that some chose to take after high school is enlisting in the military. One has to be a minimum of seventeen years old, must be a United States citizen, must have a high school diploma and must pass a physical exam.  Different branches that one can apply to include the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard. Each of these options varies slightly but include the common denominator of serving one’s country. This career path can be very rewarding in that one gains lots of respect and years of service can end in retirement with benefits.  For some individuals, the option of joining the military from high school is a great option and can have promising results.

A freshman from Duxbury, when asked if she would consider taking one of these routes instead of going directly to a four-year college said, “I don’t think it would be the right choice for me, but I think if it’s something you are really interested in you should try it out because why not!”  For some going right to college after graduation works perfectly for them, but for others exploring some of the various possibilities is a better choice for them.

Another alternative to a four-year college is choosing to go to a two-year community college.  Community colleges are very inexpensive and offer certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. For some, going to a two-year community college is a perfect way to get an education that is cost effective.  Many who start at community colleges will transfer into regular four-year institutions, but by going to a community college one can get an education for a much less costly price.

The option of taking a gap year is also another path that high school graduates can take.  There are many organizations that are set up for volunteers and offer places to stay all around the world.  During a gap year, one can use the time away from school for reflection and learn more about themselves, which is a valuable asset for entering adulthood.  Also, the opportunity to travel and learn about different cultures and places is very important and can be very fulfilling.

An alternative route that students can take after graduation includes learning a trade and becoming a skilled worker.  Jobs that fall under this category are working as an electrician, a construction worker, plumber, or carpenter.

A similar choice to taking a gap year includes going on a mission trip after high school.  Missions trips are usually aligned with a religious group and aim on helping those less fortunate in the world.  Some of the most famous mission trip organizations include Samaritans Feet, experienceMISSION, and OrphanOutreach which take volunteers for varying lengths of time to go to other countries and help the native people there.  Missions trips are great ways for people to experience other cultures and learn about other places in the world through experience.  Also, on trips like these individuals often come back with a deeper perspective on themselves and have gained knowledge that many of their peers were not able to acquire.  

Duxbury Guidance Counselor Bridget McDonough said about the topic, “Post-secondary plans are not ‘one-size-fits-all’. It’s important that every student consider their individual interests, needs, and goals before deciding on their plan for after graduation. Alternatives like taking a gap year, joining the military and joining the trades are excellent options for students to consider if they are unsure about attending a 4-year college after graduation. If a student is unsure about their path for after graduation, making the decision to attend a 4-year college without careful consideration can potentially be a costly mistake.”  

Different approaches to college or simply life after high school can be a great option for those wishing to stand out and take the road less traveled.

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