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Skip College; 6 Ways to Build Your Own Post-High School Education

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Skip College; 6 Ways to Build Your Own

Post-High School Education

By Linda Dobson


Travel is one of the most educational experiences anyone can have.

Like so many aspects of public education today – standardized testing, lectures, age-separated classes, one-size-fits-all curriculum and more – the promise still perpetuated by politicians at all levels that going to college is going to be everyone’s saving grace for the future, just doesn’t hold water any more.

Yes, the continuing, purposeful degradation (The Federal Reserves Explicit Goal: Devalue the Dollar 33%) of our economy plays a major role. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have believed the politicians’ promise, gone into debt for tens of thousands of dollars to attend college, only to find no business besides the local McDonald’s is willing to hire me – part-time. But there are other reasons to skip the weight of such early debt, as well.

Swimming In Debt for Dumbed-Down College?

In “It’s Time to Drop the College-for-All Crusade,” Robert Samuelson explains how that mindset has resulted in the “dumbing down of college.” (Sound familiar?)

In a recent book, “Academically Adrift,” sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that 45 percent of college students hadn’t significantly improved their critical thinking and writing skills after two years; after four years, the proportion was still 36 percent. Their study was based on a test taken by 2,400 students at 24 schools requiring them to synthesize and evaluate a block of facts. The authors blame the poor results on lax academic standards. Surveyed, one-third of the same students said that they studied alone five or fewer hours a week; half said they had no course the prior semester requiring 20 pages of writing.

If I went into college debt for this, I’d be as pissed off as the mom who found out her son was being locked in a box when she thought he was being educated at the local school.

While Samuelson covers the well-known aspects of the diminishing value of a college education accompanied by college debt (which cannot even be dismissed in a personal bankruptcy), there’s a really important point he – just like the rest of mainstream media – ignores. What about the young people’s time? By saying no to college attendance, an individual gains two to four years of what will turn out to be some of the best time of their lives!

By stepping outside of the college attendance box, the open-minded young adult can fill that time with personally meaningful education. He can take a bit of time to figure out his passion, if he hasn’t already. Having done so, he can then pursue real-world activities that steer him toward his goal. Yes, it’s just like homeschooling, just college style.

See also Homeschooling and the Art of Education

6 Ways to Build Your Own Post-High School Education without College

One way to get fodder to get your creativity juices flowing on this subject is to read Blake Boles’ Zero Tuition College blog and his books. In the meantime, here are six ideas to ponder to make the most of the time now available for customized learning!


Apprenticeships, where a skilled person allows a novice to work by his/her side, is a long honored tradition in America, which kind of fell by the way side when compulsory attendance came along with government schools. You can contact folks who are employed working your dream job, and create an apprenticeship in lieu of college as a much more direct route to learning. Most of the time you won’t get paid for an apprenticeship, but it also won’t cost you anything! This is the best time of your life to spend months or year in a no-pay situation.


Others have said it and I agree wholeheartedly because I’ve witnessed the results: Travel is one of the most educational experiences anyone can have. It’s even possible to combine your travel with an apprenticeship if you happen upon the right circumstances. Just remember, if your journey takes you to foreign countries, always check the laws and make sure you’re complying. (We don’t want you to wind up writing books about your time spent in a foreign jail.)


This country is overflowing with non-profit organizations who have long to-do lists and never enough money or help to accomplish it all. Research the non-profits that work in your passion area and offer to volunteer. Most will be extremely grateful for the help. If you can provide some sort of commitment (6 months, or a year), they will be happy to train you in the niche of your dreams. Sometimes, volunteering also leads to job opportunities.


Yes, you read that right – babysit. Taking responsibility for the care of others builds character. While you probably won’t want to add “babysitting” to your resume, the emotional intelligence you build when you engage in such service will shine through when job decision makers meet you. You can “babysit” babies, or care for children after school until their parents get out of work. The baby boomer generation is also known as the sandwich generation. This is because their parents are living longer during the time they are raising their own children, thus “sandwiched” in-between. It’s a challenge, and they might just appreciate some help with mom or dad. Keep in mind, it’s not just people that need to be “babysat.” You can also babysit pets, gardens, and homes.

Start a Business

Many people find they don’t want to wait around for someone to “give” them a job. Instead, they make their own dream job by starting a business. If you already know your passion and have the skills required, you can bypass steep college costs and earn money during the time you would have been sitting in class.

Attend Free Online College

If you would like to take the traditional college approach with a twist, this route may be for you. Those involved in higher education were the first to put the Internet’s capabilities to good use for customized study, and many are jumping on board, offering college courses free for the taking. Courses are available from top notch college and university websites. You can find lists at Open Culture, Education Portal, and, yes, even MIT offers Open Course Ware.

Oh, and be sure to check out this budding idea – Trade School – literally. It runs on the barter system.

College debt? Why? Life is short – seize those extra years to realize your passion and life work while having a great time saving money!





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