College can seem intimidating. The application process is enough to scare many students from a college degree.

There are other options available for those looking for something different. After all, education is not cheap and many people find themselves looking at alternatives to avoid student loans but wish to continue their studies.

Here’s a list of different college alternatives for you to consider!

1. Self-Paced Resources

Choosing A College

College-level courses are being offered online and through self-paced resources. You can take one or two classes at a time, and work at your own pace.

Taking online courses through an accredited institution can give you flexibility. Allowing you to work at your own pace and complete assignments on your own time. This is ideal for stay-at-home parents, working adults, and those with busy schedules.

Here are examples of self-paced resources:


An online resource that allows you to take self-paced courses in a variety of subject areas. This can be a great option if you want to take a few courses at a time. Or if you want to take courses that are not offered at your local college.


An online platform that offers courses from top universities and colleges. You can choose from a variety of courses, and you can also earn a certificate or a degree. If you’re looking for an alternative to college, Coursera is definitely worth considering.

Correspondence Courses

With correspondence courses, you generally receive printed course materials. You will be working through them on your own. It is taking part to take part in online discussions or meetings with a tutor.

2. Travel Career

There are many college alternatives for you to consider if interested in a travel career. Travel agents, tour operators, and event planners need a college degree. But, there are many other options available to you in this career field.

You could consider working as a travel writer, a travel photographer, or even a travel blogger. All these career choices can be very rewarding and offer you the opportunity to see the world. Be sure to explore all your options before making a decision.

College Students

3. Apprenticeship

There are many college alternatives for you if you are looking for training in a profession. Apprenticeship programs can provide you with on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

The United States Department of Labor Apprenticeship program offers a variety of industries. Including construction, manufacturing, healthcare, and more. There are also many state and local apprenticeship programs that you can explore.

These programs last for several years. This can give you the skills and knowledge you need to start a career path in a particular field. Contact an organization in your area of interest to learn about program requirements.

4. Military

There are many alternatives if you’re interested in a military career. Officer training programs, like the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, offer help. You can also join the National Guard or the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

In general, the military is not considered to be a college alternative. But, there are many benefits to serving in the military that can make it a viable option for some people.

For example, the military provides free housing and medical care. Of course, the military does carry a greater risk of injury than a more traditional job, but there will be support for you should you become injured during service (and, once you have retired, you could see here to learn more about any disability support you may be entitled to). Additionally, serving in the military can give you a sense of purpose and direction. Finally, the military can be a great way to see the world and meet new people.

5. Online College

Accredited online colleges offer many advantages over traditional college institutions. Including the ability to attend class from anywhere. As well as the flexibility to fit your education around your work and other commitments.

Some accredited online colleges that you may want to consider include:

  • Liberty University Online
  • Rasmussen College
  • Southern New Hampshire University Online

They offer many different degree programs that are being taken online. Before enrolling, be sure to do your research to ensure that the school is reputable. Find a degree program they offer that is in line with your career goals.

6. Entrepreneurship

There are many college alternatives for you to consider if you wish to pursue entrepreneurship. There are also many vocational and technical schools that offer training in entrepreneurship.

There are also many programs offered by colleges that can help you get started in your own business. Many community colleges offer entrepreneurship courses. You can also consider taking a course at a local business school.

Others choose to get a degree in business, economics, engineering, or computer science. You can even learn about entrepreneurship online through massive open online courses (MOOCs). Whichever route you choose, make sure to do your research.

7. Vocational Education

One college alternative to consider is vocational education. This type of education can provide you with the skills and training you need to enter a specific career.

Choosing A College

Two-year community colleges offer vocational programs that can lead to an Associate’s degree. While Trade schools offer shorter programs in a particular trade. See the average cost of trade school here.

Research the programs offered and make sure they align with your career goals. Talk to recent graduates to get an idea of their experiences. Your career is an important investment, make sure you are getting the best education.

Deciding Between College Alternatives

The world is full of college alternatives that can be good for you if you take the time to explore them. There are options for every type of student, from traditional to non-traditional. You can even choose to take a gap year and travel the world.

The important thing is that you find an option that fits your needs and helps you reach your goals. College alternatives can be a great way to get an education so don’t be afraid to explore them.

Take your time, do your research, and find the perfect fit for you.  If you need any help along the way, be sure to reach out to your guidance counselor or a trusted family member or friend. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something that will help you with your future plans.

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