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After I graduate high school should I go straight to collage?

I don't have collage money saved up so I was thinking of getting a job after collage to raise money.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ryan’s Answer

Hi Rosselin,

Your situation is increasingly common with education and living costs on the rise. There are many unconventional benefits to a gap year between high school and college and you can use that time to your advantage, especially if you're uncertain about your career pathway. A gap year would be beneficial to take a dive into the real world and find out what you like and especially what you don't like.

As you stand at the crossroads after high school, contemplating whether to embark on the conventional journey to college or carve out an individual route, remember that the path to success is rarely linear. Every person's journey is unique, and the roads less traveled can often lead to the most remarkable success stories.

Some of the greatest achievers in history have ventured off the beaten track, embracing the unconventional and forging their paths. Think of visionaries like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who both dropped out of college to pursue their dreams and ultimately revolutionized the world of technology. Their stories remind us that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to success.

Financial constraints may prompt you to consider taking a gap year to work and save money for college. While this might seem like a deviation from the traditional route, it can offer invaluable life experiences and help you develop essential skills. A year spent working, traveling, or volunteering can open your eyes to new perspectives and possibilities, igniting the spark within you to chase your dreams with renewed vigor.

As you weigh your options and envision your future, bear in mind that your journey's success is not dictated by the path you choose, but rather by your resilience, determination, and passion for growth. Embrace the idea that unconventional routes can be as enriching as traditional ones, if not more so. Forge ahead with courage, knowing that the lessons you learn and the experiences you gain along the way will contribute to the tapestry of your unique success story.

In the words of Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Rosselin
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Chirayu’s Answer

Whether or not you should go straight to college after graduating from high school depends on your individual circumstances and goals. Here are a few things to consider - If you have a clear idea of what career you want to pursue and a college degree is necessary to achieve that goal, then going to college right away may make sense. On the other hand, if you're not sure what you want to do, taking some time to work and explore your options may be a good idea. College can be expensive, and if you don't have the money saved up or access to financial aid, taking a gap year or working for a period of time to save money may be a good choice. There are also alternatives to traditional four-year colleges, such as community colleges or vocational schools, that may be more affordable options. Going to college right after high school can be a great way to continue your education and meet new people. However, taking a gap year or working for a period of time can also provide valuable life experience and help you gain perspective on what you want to do with your life. Ultimately, the decision to go straight to college or take some time off is a personal one that depends on your unique circumstances and goals. It's important to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that feels right for you.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rosselin
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Tracy’s Answer

College is an excellent option if you know what you want to do like: Education, Medical school, Nursing, Corporate America, etc. However, if you have no idea what you want to study, it is a great idea to take a gap year to travel or work. The great thing about taking the time to work is that most employers are offering tuition assistance programs. This could be an inexpensive way to dip your toes into school to see what you might like to study.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Rosselin
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Ryan’s Answer

Do not think you have to go to college to be successful. I highly recommend getting a job anyway to build experience. This does not at all mean that you are failing to plan a career or not planning a career well because college does not guarantee success or better careers. That being said, learning a specific field is definitely beneficial. However, this can be done at a community college at more than half the price of some colleges or universities. The education administered by community colleges is just as good too! I would know because I started my education at a community college and it was certainly worth it. Even going just for two years for an associates degree (which is also what I did) gives you the upper hand in many careers. If you are worried about balancing a job and education, try attending community college classes virtually. It is typically very self-paced work that you can complete during your week while working and paying off your college fees. Whatever you may do, do not rush into anything you are uncertain of because dealing with as much money as college demands is no small decision. Don't worry if you have to take a gap year... Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Rosselin
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Shara’s Answer

This is a great question. A few practical answers: talk to your guidance counselor or a teacher you trust about your situation. Often, community colleges offer programs that are reasonable and allow you the flexibility to work as well. I know this is stressful and a lot of juggling. I think taking a year to work is fine, but if you do want to ultimately go to college, I advise exploring every avenue with the help of a trusted counselor or connection before you graduate. Fellow students in the same situation can also help inform your decision. I wish you all the best.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Shara! Rosselin
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Brian’s Answer

I joined the military after I graduated high school. I could have gone on to college (I had good grades), but I wasn't ready for college. The military was a tough transition for me, but I don't regret my decision. I got to see some of the world, met lots of interesting people, learned useful skills, and was able to take advantage of the GI Bill, which was a great financial benefit when I enrolled in college after I was discharged. But during my years in the military, I took college classes, so in that sense I was always in school. The military isn't for everyone, but it was the right choice for me.
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Rosselin
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Robyn’s Answer

I would say there is no path set in stone for everyone. You do not need to go directly to college after high school. You can go right to work. However, the work you want to do for a career may require some kind of certification. For example, there are many trades available like welding, plumbing, electrician, ultrasound technician, respiratory therapist, certified nurses assistant, mechanic, massage therapist, that require a certification that you get from going through a technical program, then taking a test. Most of these trades are through a technical school. There are other careers you can learn through on the job training like construction, office / store manager, administrative assistant, even some technical roles. Other careers like doctors, lawyers, marketing, accounting, financial investor, all require college degrees.

Robyn recommends the following next steps:

If you don't know what career path you want to pursue yet, it's fine to work right out of high school and think about it.
If you have a good idea what career you want to focus on, try to get an internship or entry level job in a business that gives you some relevant experience right out of high school while you are saving money. That way you are gaining experience and saving money.
Explore options that may help pay for your career like the military or university or tech school.
Don't be afraid to follow your dreams!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Rosselin
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Sorangel’s Answer

This is a very personal decision as each person has their own circumstances. First, do some soul searching, ask yourself what you want to do and what kind of degree does that career require. Second, if you need to save money to pay for your degree, perhaps you can work and take a few classes at a community college which will be more cost effective and helps you make progress during your gap year (make sure classes taken are transferable to a 4 year college or university). Also recommend while in HS to take as many dual enrolment and AP classes that you feel you will do well in to gain college credits before you graduate. Third, are you disciplined and feel you can get back on track once you've saved enough money, if yes, a gap year should not be a problem - make sure you set goals for yourself and keep track of those goals so the year is purposeful and goes towards your education goals. If you are not disciplined and feel a year or two break from school will be hard to get back into the rhythm, take classes in a community college based on what you can afford and available time so you don't loose the momentum. Lastly, talk to your school counselor and administration departments of the schools your interested in, see if they can provide guidance on your decision.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Rosselin
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Dennis’s Answer

Returning to school after a GAP year is difficult, I would consider pursuing an Associates Degree at a Community College is a great option while you work to save money. Most community college credits transfer to state school and the cost per credit is significantly less than a 4 year school.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Dennis for the advice. Rosselin
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Jessi’s Answer

Hi Rosselin, I actually started college right after high school while also working 3 part time jobs because the grants and scholarships I was awarded were not enough to cover all college expenses. It was not easy! I found it to be a huge time commitment and got to a point where it started affecting my grades. I had to drop out of school to focus on saving enough money to go back. It took me a long time to go back, even after I started working at Verizon, which does offer tuition assistance. I think I was happy to be making money and when I was younger it felt like didn't matter that I didn't have a college degree. But once you start looking to get promoted, companies will look for that and I was upset that I hadn't made the time to go back.
My suggestion is that you set some goals for yourself with timelines and other guidelines so you don't wait too long if college is something you want to do. And since Verizon does offer tuition assistance, I remember one of my managers told me I was leaving money on the table every year that I didn't go back to school. That's what prompted me to go back. I hope that helps!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Jessi! Rosselin
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Amile’s Answer

Gap years can be useful. Many simply are not yet emotionally prepared. For some, it is a financial decision. Some want to explore and gain more real-life experience first. However, for some - it is best to keep the learning momentum going and go straight to college as they may not "go back". Pause and get to the core of what YOU want. My best advice is to build a plan... share it with someone you trust... validate its' viability... and stick to it! I know equally as many people who went to college immediately and are successful as I do those that did not.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your support, Amile Rosselin
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Cecile’s Answer

Gap years are fine. Some people need to work for a bit to learn more about themselves—their likes, their dislikes, the kind of career they may wish to pursue first.

You just have to make sure you don’t spend what you earn and trap yourself in work that you are only doing for practical reasons and not because you enjoy it or see if as your end game.

As others have suggested, start the first half of a bachelor’s degree at a community college. In California, they are very reasonable. There’s also financial aid. Some CCs offer free tuition for students coming out of HS with a high gpa. Be sure to check out those kinds of programs at the CC near you.

You can also stop at the associate degree, which CCs offer. Some select in-demand careers (such as in health science careers) at that level and go on to lead satisfying lives. Should you do really well at the CC level, you could become eligible to apply for scholarships to use at the university level.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Rosselin
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Luke’s Answer

I think you're asking yourself the right questions. I'm close to 10 years out of college and I know plenty of people who didn't plan their career well and as a result they are still paying their student loans which is a horrible scenario to endure. College loans can handcuff you to and certain lifestyle 10-20 years after college because the loans are so burdensome.

I don't want to tell anyone what to do with their money, but it's good that you're thinking of these things while still in high school. Don't be afraid to save money for a year, go to a community college, etc. to avoid the huge loans.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Rosselin
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Sharon’s Answer

My advice is yes, go straight while you have the momentum to do so. There are options if finances are an issue, such as community college, financing etc.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Rosselin
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Gregory’s Answer

Personally I think it's very difficult to take a few years off and then go back to a college setting. Not saying it can't be done because it happens all the time depending on an individuals situation.

I would suggest if you can make it happen to utilize any student loans to get yourself in a college setting. Student loans are a normal process of life now and if you can use the momentum from high school right into your college.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Rosselin
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