Plans for After High School? Let Us Help You Make a Decision!

Jonathan Flores Angel, Staff Writer

Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. All-Ivy League colleges and all referenced as the top schools in the US. It’s every high school student’s dream to get accepted into these schools. What most students do not realize is that there are other post-secondary options available to them besides a traditional four-year college education. There are many alternatives available to students like a trade school, community college, joining the military, and even online courses. There are some obvious pros and cons that come with each option and not every student is exactly the same. Everyone has their own goal and preference when it comes to their future. Here are some pros and cons of some options available to the RHS student that really doesn’t want to go to a four-year institution. 

Trade School: Trade schools are schools that focus on teaching their students skills specific to a trade job. Some trade jobs include Electrician, HVAC, Plumbing, Mechanic,  


Much cheaper than college. The average cost of a bachelor’s degree is $127,00. The average cost of a trade school is around $33,000 

You don’t have to pay to take classes you don’t need or want. You only pay for the classes that focus on teaching you skills for your trade 

You get to learn a new skill that will make your resume more appealing to businesses 

Usually can be completed within two years 


Fewer career options than a four-year college can get you 

They don’t offer room and board 


Applying for an apprenticeship:  


Your resume is much more appealing to people looking to hire 

You get real experience from trained professionals 

You can get paid while learning your trade 


Depending on the program there might be a limited number of spots available for people to attend 

No room and board 

Joining the workforce right after high school: 


You start making money right out of high school 

You can work your way up at some companies 


Not a lot of higher-paying  jobs hire without some type of post-secondary degree in today’s job market 

A limited number of options available 

You usually start off at minimum wage 


If your heart is still set on a four-year institution but you don’t have the best grades or the best qualification or even just the funds for it, here are some options for you that can help you along the way to a college education. 


Taking a Gap year: 

More time to focus on yourself 

More time to think about what you really want to do 

You can work a full-time jobs in retail, food, or customer service and save up for college 


You finish college later than you most of your peers 

You most likely won’t be in contact with your school counselor after you graduate high school so you won’t have as much support as before 


Community College: 


Way cheaper than most institutions 

They usually teach the same material as other colleges 

You can improve your GPA and transfer to the school you really want to go to 


Some colleges won’t accept credits earned from certain community colleges 

Community colleges usually don’t have the same financial support as the other colleges 


Online Courses:


You save money on room and board 

You get to learn at your own pace and aren’t rushed to learn something within a class period 

You don’t have to interact with people if you’re not socially confident 


Not all online courses are recognized as a credible learning source 

You need to be able to discipline yourself into actually doing the work

Hopefully, you find this information useful in deciding your post-high school plans.  

Sources Page: 

Chen, Grace. “The Pros and Cons of Online Courses | CommunityCollegeReview.Com.” Community College Review, Community College Review, 26 Feb. 2018,

Miller, Scott. “The Average Cost of Vocational School in USA 2019 – Vocational Training.” Vocational Training, Vocational Training HQ, 1 Mar. 2019, Accessed 22 Nov. 2019. 

Sipek, Sarah. “8 Alternatives to a 4-Year Degree | CareerBuilder.” Careerbuilder.Com, Careerbuilder, 22 Mar. 2017, Accessed 21 Nov. 2019.