Taking that next step after high school and going to college is a huge one. There are many factors to think through, including academics and financial concerns. But what if you just don’t want to go? Sometimes the biggest hurdle to trusting yourself is the fear of letting friends and family down. Here’s how to deal with telling them that the plans have changed — or they were never made in the first place.
College prep starts in junior high and ramps up in high school, where counselors and teachers drive students to choose specific classes to prepare them for college.
Sometimes the pressure can be intense. Especially so if friends are making exciting plans and chattering nonstop about this school or that apartment they’d like to share.
If you’re certain this isn’t for you, it can feel like the best option is to just remain silent. But it’s valuable to have your friends see you for who you are. So if you’re at all able, respond with confirmation that you have other plans after school — but they don’t involve college.
Use these conversations to explore your options, hear their ideas and suggestions, and try to drum up your own excitement for your plans. Maybe you can still share that apartment.
Planning for a No-College Future
Maybe you’ve chosen technical school or a certificate program to attend after graduation? In many cases, graduates are offered jobs right away. Medical assistant, paralegal and electronics technician are just a few of the options available in most large cities. And if you check in with the local unions, they can help hook you up with apprenticeships and other training options.
Have you gotten a head start with vocational training in high school? Some programs start in high school and allow students to earn college credits while furthering their education.
Talking to the Family
The people who love us get concerned when they think we’re doing things that put our futures at risk. And it’s awesome to have people who love us, but that can feel like judgment. So how do you deal?
The most likely way to get them on your side is to explain that you have a plan. Explain that you can find success without a 4-year degree. Depending on the field you’ve chosen and the amount of training already you’ve received, you may be able to land a good job right after high school, all without spending a fortune on college.
Leave an Open Door
And, depending on the state of your finances and resources, explaining that you’d like to start out without debt may be enough to get them on your side. Tell others that even though you want to try different options, for now, it doesn’t mean you won’t be open to broadening your horizons in the future.
Dreams and aspirations are different for everybody, so it’s important to come up with a plan that’s right for you. Even though it may not be exactly what others have in mind for you, as long as you’re pursuing what makes your heart happy, you’re doing it right. Choose your path, and then own it.