Up until your 20s, you probably spent a huge majority of your life in school. From the first day of kindergarten to the day you graduate from high school, you have had that structure and experience of going to school every day. For many people, the natural next step is to go to college and get a higher education degree at a dream school. However, this is not necessarily the correct path for everyone.

College is one of many options young people have when they graduate from high school. You may instead, chose to go into a trade. Or maybe you want to get some real life experience before pursuing a degree. Or maybe you have a talent in the arts or sports and you don’t need a degree to excel in that field. Whatever your reason, it is absolutely acceptable to take a different path rather than embarking on the college admissions process. This is an important question you have to ask yourself as you start planning out the future you want. Here are some ways to figure out if college is or isn’t the right path for you.

Figure out what you really want to do and if you need school to do it. For many people, the most frustrating part of high school is having a set curriculum. Sure, there are electives and extracurricular activities you can enjoy to gain additional information about things, but overall you’re taking math, science (like biology), and history classes. However, there are literally hundreds of career paths out there that you can pursue beyond these subjects, not every one of those careers requires advanced schooling. Maybe you want to go into a specific trade. Maybe you want to become an artist. Maybe you want to drive trucks across the country.

Each recruiter for different jobs will help offer you different paths. For example, if you’re looking into the trucking business, FATj offers great transportation recruitment solutions. Learn about the strengths and application process in one area. These recruitment tools help companies bring in the top talent in the transport industry with years of experience. You’ll have the opportunity to study the logistics and understand if that is the path for you. From there, decide if you need college or not.

Talk with a school counselor or college coach.

Mentors are a huge part of your life journey. They can help you discover the best path for you. Whether you meet with a guidance counselor who can help you find your true interests or you want to see a college counselor to get help with the college application process or scholarship selection, they can help you find the right path to your dream school. The best college counselors can help you get into a top college, like Princeton or Stanford, with assistance to improve test scores, buff up your college essays, raise your GPA, or do some interview prep. With high success rates, these college coaches will help you find what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Understand your current relationship with school.

Let’s be honest, school really isn’t for everyone. You may be someone who loves learning and wants to spend the rest of your life taking courses and sitting in classrooms. Or maybe you’re someone who needs to work with their hands and get real life experience. Maybe you’re burnt out from almost 20 years straight of academia. As you’re trying to figure out if college is for you, you’ll want to consider your past relationship with school. If you love learning and want to explore the logistics industry or do more research on different medicines, look at innovative companies like Roivant Sciences to get an idea about how movers and shakers are impacting the world of clinical programs—and what type of education you’d need if you were interested in working for a healthcare company or pharmaceutical company with this type of unique approach. If you’d rather leave school behind forever, then there isn’t much point to pursuing a higher degree, even if you find the approach of Roivant fascinating.

Consider how much money you’d like to make someday.

Money is a huge factor in your future career. After all, people go to work so they can make money and afford to live the life they want. This is definitely something to consider as you’re deciding if you want to go to college or not. The overall earning potential for individuals with an advanced degree is usually higher. Certain careers can still yield a high income, however, even without a college diploma. Truck drivers, for example, make a very nice salary without going to any elite colleges. For high school students, this is simply a good thing to research as you’re facing uncertainties about your future.

Listen to your own desires rather than the outside pressure.

For many people, going away to college after high school is a natural next step. You may feel like you are supposed to go to a development program or you have to get into college admissions. But the truth is, this isn’t a good fit for everyone. It’s time to listen to your own wants and desires rather than folding to outside pressure. This is how you take back control of your own life and feel confident in your own future.


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