Attending a Four Year College

Attending a 4-Year College Isn’t An Option For Me – Now What?

Sometimes it isn’t feasible to attend a four-year college after high school. There could be many reasons why someone can’t attend. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be asking yourself  since attending a four-year college isn’t an option for me, now what should I do?

As stated earlier, there may be many reasons a four-year college may not be an option for you. Although it may not be an option currently, your situation may change in the future. Just because you may not be able to attend now, don’t let that stop you from moving forward. There are other alternatives:

1. Attend a 2-Year Community College
Compared to attending a four-year college, taking classes at a two-year community college could be cost effective for you. The amount per credit hour is much less expensive. In addition, if your situation allows you to do so in the future, it can be a smooth transition from community college to a four-year school. Many of your general education courses can be taken at the community college and transferred over to the larger university at a later date. Make sure you speak with an academic adviser about transferring credits between schools.

Dental Hygienist is one the highest paying Associate Degree jobs in 2018There are several jobs you can obtain with an associate’s degree. According to the following are some of the highest paying Associate Degree jobs in 2018:

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Nuclear Technician
  • Radialogic & Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists
  • Dental Hygienist

For salary information of those jobs listed above, please visit

2. Enroll in a Trade / Vocational Program
Trade or vocational programs allow students to obtain hands-on learning.  There are a variety of trade or vocational programs.

Some trade areas include the following:

  • Construction
  • Welding
  • Electrical
  • Photography
  • Masonry
  • Metal Work

These type of programs may provide more supervision, and one-on-one instructor to student contact allowing students to keep up with their workload.

In an effort to place students in jobs after completion, some programs may even offer internships (student positions in an organization to gain work experience) or apprenticeships (person who works to learn a trade).

Taking a gap year may help you decide what you want to do
Take a Gap Year
More and more students are starting to experience what is known as a gap year which is an academic year between high school and college. During this time, students are encouraged to gain experience that will enhance their resume, travel,  learn new skills, take a break from studying, earn money, spend time deciding what they want to do, or a combination of things.

There are definitely pros and cons to taking the year between high school and college off. It can be very productive – if planned correctly. However, if the time is unstructured, it can end up being wasted time that doesn’t add value to your resume or learning experience. If you decide to do this, make sure you do some research well in advance in order to prepare advantageously.

4. Start a Business
Are you creative and have great customer service skills? If so, have you ever thought about starting your own business? With a computer and internet connection, the opportunity to build your own business from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. No longer are the days of having to start a business with brick and mortar store front buildings and all the expenses. Because of technology, you can get started at any time from anywhere.

Some online business ideas include:

> Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting company’s products and you earning a profit for each sale you make. One organization, Wealthy Affiliate, has a wonderful step-by-step training program and all the tools you need to help you build a website. For more information about Wealthy Affiliate, click below:


> Fashion / Hand Made Goods
If you like to create fashion, starting an online business can certainly be an exciting venture for you. You can build your own website and sell through an online store like

> Art

If you enjoy art and want to get your images on mugs, t-shirts, etc. for your clients, there are reputable sites (like CafePress) that can handle your printing, processing and shipping.


There are many entrepreneurial ventures available, so try using Google for ideas. It would also be a great idea to obtain books for  detailed information on starting your own business. If you have professionals (i.e. accountants, attorneys, etc.)  in your network,
it would be a great idea to get their ideas on how to run your business as well.

5. Find a Job
You may be in a situation that it is necessary to find a job after high school. There is nothing wrong with that. While you work, that may be a good time to think about your future career path.

Working on the job is a great way to build your resume. Exhibiting qualities like good customer service, reliability, dependability, and loyalty are all great for resume building. Those are soft skills that are in high demand in the work place. You may even obtain promotions as a result of your qualities and that is very important to note on your resume.




TIP: Find out if your employer offers tuition reimbursement. Some employers offer this as an option to reimburse their employees for their educational expenses. The way it works is initially, you’d pay for the course, but when the course is over, your employer would reimburse some of the tuition expenses back to you.

There are usually stipulations on being reimbursed, such as, the kind of courses you enroll in and the final grade you obtain. If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, talk with your Human Resources department about the process of getting enrolled.

This may be a great option for you to work and obtain your degree at the same time.

Selling real estate may be an alternative to college
6. Sell Real Estate
Have you ever considered becoming a Real Estate Agent? The process involves taking real estate courses and passing your state’s licensing test.

As with anything else, being a realtor has its pros and cons. Two great perks are you will be able to work from home and somewhat make your own schedule. On the other hand, your clients are people who are probably working during the day. Therefore, you’ll most likely work during the evening and weekend hours.

Keep in mind the housing market has had its ups and downs over the years and some people may be a little hesitant to get into the field. However, job growth is in line with the job market growth as a whole over the next decade according to “The Art of Manliness” website.

7. Join the Military
Many students join the military right after high school as an alternative to college. There are several benefits to joining the military and should be discussed with a recruiter in detail.

Each branch of the military has different requirements. Therefore, to learn more about joining, speak with a recruiter or visit these websites:


Whatever alternative you decide, do your home workDO YOUR HOMEWORK
Whatever journey you decide to take, do your homework and research.  The ideas listed above can get you started. However, it is up to you to do your research to see which path is best for you.

In doing your research, also consider talking with other people who are in the field of your choice. In talking with others, ask them the pros and cons of what they are doing. Try to get a clear picture of what is involved. They can help steer you in the right direction. Over time, someone may become your mentor.


No matter what you decide to do in your future, it is important to have a mentor. A mentor is experienced in your chosen field and someone you can trust to advise you. That person can help you when you have questions or assist you with your ideas. I totally believe in having a mentor. In each job I’ve held over the years, I have always had a mentor.

While a mentor is someone to advise, a good mentor is also someone who can be honest and guide you when you’re getting off track. Honesty is the best policy and a good mentor will recognize that.

Always remain professionalBE PROFESSIONAL – NO MATTER WHAT
No matter what avenue you pursue, you need to represent yourself in a professional manner. No matter what you decide to do, whether pursuing your degree, starting a job, or building your own business, you will be in contact with other people and they are always watching you. Whomever you come in contact with may one day be your customer, boss, or mentor – you never know. No matter how someone touches your life, they are now in your network. Always remember to be professional in your approach and demeanor.

Even though attending a four-year college may not be an option, currently or in your future, there are several other options for you to choose from. Do some soul-searching  to find out what you want to do. Whatever path you choose, do your homework to find out specific details about your choice. Knowledge is power, so gain as much information as you can. You can find a great amount of information from the internet, but there’s nothing like talking with other people – especially face-to-face – to get the real facts. I wish you well in your career endeavors.

I like to hear from visitors. Was this article helpful to you?

16 thoughts on “Attending a 4-Year College Isn’t An Option For Me – Now What?

  1. Hello , I hope all is well 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I love the fact that you are providing great advice and alternatives than doing a 4 year stretch at a college which can be very stressful and hold a lot of pressure due to bills and making money to pay those bills. It’s not an easy 4 years.

    An online business is definitely a great way to get through college and pay the bills. Not only that, you will more than likely be earning more money from your online business than the tutors teaching you at the college. It is a great way to teach people something that you are passionate about and love, giving you great satisfaction in return.

    Thank you for sharing this article, may it help many others to become successful and do what they love.

    Have a great day, and have all the success, happiness and health that you desire.


    1. Thank you for visiting my site and my page, Dean. I appreciate all the kind words and comments. I’m so happy you enjoyed the article. You are very correct when you say there is a lot of pressure around students having to work as well as attend college. I have personal experience with that and it’s not always easy. You are also correct in saying an online business may be helpful. There are some like Wealthy Affiliate that provide a great deal of flexibility. Once again, thank you for stopping by. I look forward to you visiting again, soon.

  2. Yvette, great article. I only wish gap years were available when I left seniour high school. All I wanted to do was work and travel. That wasn’t really an option then and dad was pretty adament about me going to university.

    We did have guidance councellors but the one we had gave me the wrong information. Oh well that’s all in the past.

    So I went to university, had a great two years loaded with fun. Learned a lot but unfortunately not so much about my degree work. So I was ‘requested’ to leave. I didn’t regret these years though as I had a ball.

    So what did I do. I had an 11 year ‘gap year’! Traveled a lot, had fun, learned about life and earned money. Then I went back to university and entered a completely different field.

    I like your list of opportunities. Most places I have worked had cadetships or apprentice programs. So the students I met were very fortunate. No agencies.

    Unfortunately the life of these two things really is dependent on the economy. After the Global Financial Crisis, the economy in Australia was affected, especially in my field of engineering and construction. So for several years no apprentices. Now companies are screaming out for them and there is none available.

    Thanks for posting this article.


    1. Helen, thank you very much for stopping by my site and providing those wonderful comments and kind words. I have spoken to many people through the years who have said the same thing as you – who received the wrong information while in school. That is so unfortunate. Even though you had a little bump in your college life, you didn’t ever let it hinder you from accomplishing what you set out to do. Great job! What an inspiration. As far as the lack of apprenticeships, that is actually when companies need to ban together with educational sources to create them. Unfortunately, without the proper resources and support, that is hard to do. Thanks again, for stopping by. Please visit again soon.

  3. What a great article! I am one who attended 11 years of schooling AFTER high school! I did go through burn-out phases, but managed to push through! After reading this, that gap year seems amazing. Oh how fun it would have been to travel to other countries instead of tackling more and more school! I would have loved the opportunity to do that and maybe learn a new language! My oldest is now a nurse, but I have two more with very different personalities coming up! Who knows where they will land. My middle daughter is 16 and even mentioned the coast guard the other day! I will definitely keep all of these options in mind with the two left that I have in my home! Thanks again!

    1. Thank you, Misty, for visiting my site and for the comments. In your profession, you certainly have had to make sure you get your schooling in. That is a wonderful job – congratulations! The gap year is seemingly more popular these days and it is definitely not to be taken lightly and traveling is definitely one more experience to be added to the resume.

      As far as your children are concerned, feel free to show them my video. Maybe seeing the alternatives will give them some inspiration to step in the right direction and spark some conversations among all of you. I certainly wish all your children well with their future career endeavors. Once again, thank you for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

  4. Hello Yvette, I so do like this topic. I think we have gotten bamboozled into thinking that only a four year degree is going to make us happy. When in reality many of our degrees just sit collecting dust as we never use it. To go ahead and find a vocation that teaches us life skills that will support us seems to be so vital in this day and age. I am so glad you wrote about this and that most of the famous, rich ones did not even attend or finish college.

    So it’s not the degree, it’s the skill set and determination, yes?

    in peace and gratitude, ariel

    1. Ariel, it is so good to see you again. Thank you for stopping by my site, for the wonderful comments and kind words. I believe automatically parents tend to want their children to attend 4 year colleges but sometimes may overlook other options when the path may not be feasible – for whatever reason. It’s just a fact that not ALL students will attend college. If, for example, a student is good with their hands, it may be best to discuss and explore those avenues. That is where vocations and trade schools come into the picture. Yes, I do believe it is the skill set and determination behind the person that will determine their success and as you can see by the list of names, that must be the case. In any event, it is hard work and students should realize that starting a business takes time and effort as well. Thanks again, for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you again, soon.

  5. I agree with you that not everyone can always attend a 4 year college course. 4 years is a long time in the life of a person aged 18-25. This is especially true if you are not 100% committed to the course topic. No one wants to get stuck paying off expensive course fees for education that they don’t want and can’t use. I think that your idea to attend a 2-Year Community College is a great idea. This way you get a “taste” of tertiary education and a taste of the course curriculum PLUS it’s much cheaper than a full degree and you get credits towards a full degree if you want to pursue it later on. That’s a win, win, win in my book for anyone who is unsure about what they want to do in life.

    I really like your option to find a mentor as well. I know that many young people do not think that way, but if they are lucky enough to find one, it could be the smartest decision they ever made.

    1. Glenys, thank you for stopping by and for the comments. You are certainly correct that no one wants to have to be in great amounts of debt if school is not their true desire. Even though, there are many students that have and are doing just that. I have taught at 2-year higher education systems and they provide a great deal of support and resources to students. And you’re right when it comes to the cost. Of course, the student may be able to transfer those credits to a 4-year school. However, that must be coordinated accordingly and it will depend on the regulations of the schools involved. Having a mentor is something that was invaluable to my career – not to mention the life-long friendships that came as a result of the mentorship. Thanks again, Glenys, for visiting. I look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

  6. This is a great article. My experience was starting college and not knowing what direction to go into that fit my personality and interest. Wish I had a mentor back them. Another option I did was going back to college later in my life after raising my kids. I had more of an idea of what I wanted to do. I started in a four year college, did not finish, went to a junior college, then years later went back to a four year college and earned my degree. These days I think back and wished there were more mentoring opportunities and guideance counselors for students like me back in the eighties. Thank you for your knowledge to help others. This has helped me to assist with my grandkids. Thanks for sharing..

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Edith, your kind words and for sharing your journey. I know what you mean about having more of an idea what you want to do as you mature. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get to the finish line – especially if “life” happens. It is great that you were persistent enough to stay the course and graduate with your four-year degree. Congratulations! I am sure your grandchildren will take heed to the message when the time is upon them to attend college. Sharing your journey with them will be very helpful to them and now, others. Again, thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and for visiting my site. Please come back again soon.

  7. You offer some great information for people deciding what to do when they leave school. We don’t have 2 year and 4 year colleges in Australia. We have TAFE which is like a technical school that offers Certificate and Diploma course. Then we have University which offer Undergraduate Degrees, and Postgraduate Diploma’s, Master’s, and PhD’s. It is very expensive and I think that is why less people want to attend. I encouraged my daughter into an apprenticeship but due to the government red tape in administration a lot of tradesmen aren’t employing apprentices direct. Instead they employ them through labour hire companies – I really wonder at the quality of training for these apprentices as they are moved around employers depending on where the work is. With an employer/apprentice relationship they can build on skills. This is much harder to do if you work a week with one and then a week with another. She got sick of being mucked around by the labour hire company so has quit. I worry about a trades deficit in years to come with this way of thinking. Do you have that issue in America – less tradesmen because no-one will train apprentices?

    1. Megan, thank you for visiting my site and for your comments. I am sorry to hear your daughter was having problems around her apprenticeship program. Here in the U.S., as of last June, there was a program expanding apprenticeships in the U.S. So there has been an upswing in apprenticeship programs around the country. The purpose around this push is because there is a realization higher education is expensive so there is the need to prepare workers to fill existing, newly created and future jobs. I am aware that there are some companies working with agencies to create apprenticeship programs. Going back to the situation with your daughter, I can certainly see how moving from one job to another week after week can get tiring. I am wondering if that changes the longer someone stays on with the labor hire companies and gain seniority. It may be worth asking the question. I wish your daughter well in all her endeavors. Please come back again, soon, to visit.

  8. Hi,
    Wow! I love this article. The things you have shared are amazing.
    I read this in the manner of thinking of my 19 year old son. He is an Apprentice Plumber that’s nearly 5 years out of his life and college. The cost and not only that whilst being in this sort of Apprenticeships, young men and women feel they are being used a little. The wages are so low.
    My daughter, however, is 16 and going through exams but did you know. The way you put yourself forward and write this article you are not undermining a teen. I wish you were my daughter’s Tutor because here, in London, I have heard them scream Like I wouldn’t even shout at my own dog.
    You have this amazing way in how you write.
    You do not undermine and I get you with the mentoring because I am a Mum with teen kids and yes I have my qualifications but you have this absolute cool way about you – the way you are helping students. Not only that, the way you can guide them to do a part time job or marketing, you do with ease. Heck, I wanted to click on everything. I did click on the affiliate one and it’s amazing. Thank you.
    I love this website and I love this article. You have talent and you are amazing.
    I used to say to understand a child you need to be at their level; to understand a teen you can’t be at their level because most are taller. It’s the acknowledgement that you get them. Lady, your article is amazing and thank you.
    I shall share this with my teens and my friends. We are all Mums of kids and ages and by the way, the link to becoming an affiliate. This article is amazing. Thank you so much.
    Thank you.
    Deborah 🙂

    1. Deborah, thank you for visiting my site, the kind words and the comments. I am thoroughly ecstatic you have enjoyed this article, love my site, and going to share information with your teens and friends. I have had the passion to help students for many years now and I truly love what I do. I think the way I communicate with students in my writing comes across that way because of how I communicated with them as an instructor in the class room. Even though I am not in the UK to directly assist your teens, I still may be able to help and I am willing to discuss options of doing that. thank you, once again, for visiting my site. I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments and look forward to seeing you again, on my site.

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