What Should I Do If I Don’t Want To Go To College? 7 Options

If you’re on the fence about college, there’s nothing to worry about. Right before I graduated from high school, I wish I had asked myself: What should I do if I don’t want to go to college?

These days, there are better alternatives to higher education, as it’s not the end-all-be-all option.

In this post, I will go over several alternatives that you can consider besides going to college or university. 

Some of them are better for people who know for sure that college is not the right path.

The last option is the one I strongly recommend that anyone can do these days. I will discuss why near the end of this post.

UPDATED: MAY 2, 2023

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  1. If I Don’t Want To Go To College, What Are My Options?
  2. Get A Job
  3. Do An Apprenticeship
  4. Go To Trade School
  5. Provide Personal Services
  6. Do Freelancing Online
  7. Travel The World
  8. Start A Business- Preferably Online
What should I do if I don't want to go to college? This post will layout some options to do besides going to college.

If I don’t want to go to college what are my options?

You have many alternatives rather than going to college or university.

If going to school for four years or longer is not what interests you, then consider these other alternatives.

What should I do if I don’t want to go to college?

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to take other than going to college.

It’s better to wait until after high school and explore whether or not college is the best fit for you.

If you’re still discovering the right path, then don’t go to college (yet). Let’s go over other options to consider.

What To Do If You Don’t Want To Go To College? 7 Options

Get a job

By all means, that’s the obvious choice. It can be part-time or full-time and you could even work at a job for free.

Now free labor is not appealing at all.

But if you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of work experience, it’s something you might want to consider. 

There could be a business that cannot afford to pay someone to perform the job.

If you offer to work for free, that might be something that can work out in your favor. 

So by the time those few years go by with work experience under your belt, you’re setting yourself up for even more success.

Plus, you won’t have all of the student loan debt on your back once you finish school after four years or more.

That’s something you’ll have an advantage over your peers who went to college, and now have the burden of paying off student loan debt.

What should I do if If don't want to go to college? This graph lays out seven options to consider besides the route to college.

The value of working for free

Sure, you will not get paid for the work you do. 

But the most important thing is that you’re gaining valuable experience from the job.

If you go down that route and you build the experience within the next year or two, they can help you find a better job where it can pay you more. 

So you have to think of the long-term picture, especially if you’re just starting out in the labor force.

It may not be appealing to most people, but it does help you appreciate what work entails and how the real world works.

A great lesson on not “working for money”

If you want to get a great perspective on what it means to work for free, look no further than reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. 

There’s a chapter in the book where Robert worked for his rich dad for free.

At the time when he was younger- that’s when he understood the value of time and money.

Unlike working a job for a certain number of hours (in return for a paycheck), your mindset shifts from being an employee to one that’s entrepreneurial. 

In other words, you start thinking more from the employer’s perspective of how a business operates in the real world.

It’s worth reading, so I encourage you to check it out to get a full understanding of what it all means.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

Do an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a great way to learn valuable skills on the job. 

That is where you spend time working while doing classroom training at a school.

Basically, you’re getting on-the-job training, but it’s more specialized. 

You may even earn more money at a job than go on the traditional route to school. 

So it’s something to think about, as I believe not many people consider doing an apprenticeship.

Go to trade school

A trade school (or vocational school) can be a great decision. 

If you want to learn a specific skill such as carpentry or plumbing then it might be worth it. 

It may not be the most exciting work and not the easiest, but the job you do pays very well.

So if you’re someone who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work, and you want to find employment sooner, then trade school might be an excellent choice for you.

A relevant article from notimekillers.com

Read next on “The 11 Best Businesses To Start During A Recession“, to learn which businesses do very well during difficult economic times.

Provide personal services

Personal service can be anything that you can do in your community. 

For instance, do you happen to mow your lawn? 

If so, why not offer to mow other people’s lawns in your neighborhood? 

I think it’s a great way not only to help your fellow neighbors, but it does help you learn how to run a small business.

It’s not only limited to lawnmowing services, but this extends into other areas. 

Other things that you can do include:

  • Dog walking
  • Snow removal
  • Elderly care services

To expand on that, there are a lot of gig-related jobs that you can do today. 

From being an Uber/Lyft driver to delivery services (food and groceries), those are some common jobs you can do to provide a service to other people.

Is it okay if I don’t want to go to college?

Yes, there’s no obligation for you to go college if you’re uncertain. Or if you’re certain that it’s not for you, then don’t bother at all. The best part is there are other options to consider, such as trade school, freelancing, travel, or even better- starting your own business.

Do freelance work online

Now that the internet is more advanced today, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of freelance work that you can do online. 

If you’re someone who’s good at writing, and you’re looking to write articles for a website, consider being a freelance writer. 

If you’re more on the artistic or design side, why not offer to create logos for startups?

Other types of freelance work include:

  • Tutoring 
  • Virtual Assistant 
  • Social media specialist 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant 

The freelancing industry is huge and continues to grow over time.

So if there’s a talent you have that you want to put yourself out there, consider jumping into the freelance world.

Travel the world

Traveling is a great option to explore new places while learning about different cultures. 

It’s a great way to meet new people and venture out around the world.

A lot of young people will travel to see new places, while also spending the time to discover themselves and to identify who they really are.

A relevant article from notimekillers.com

Read next on “If I Don’t Go To College, Is My Life Over? Why To NOT Panic“, to learn why it’s not the end of the world.

Start a business- preferably online

It’s not easy starting a business, especially if you open a brick-and-mortar store. 

Although you can go down that path, I recommend going down the online route.

By far, starting an online business is much easier than it’s ever been. It’s easy to get started, but it’s not easy to build a successful one over time. 

Understand that it does take a lot of time and effort to see great results come about.

So be patient and keep up with the work.

My top recommendation

If you’re in building a stable source of income, I encourage you to check out my top recommendation for getting started.

It’s the place I go to learn new skills and also build my business in the long run. 

Personally, I believe it’s a much better choice than going to college or university.

Not only is it much cheaper, but the classes are of high quality.

In other words, the instructors teach what they practice and get great results from their own businesses.

You can create a free starter account, and give it a test drive to see whether it’s the right fit for you or not.

Final Words

Understand that you have a lot of options to consider. 

Since college is not for everyone, these choices are much better for some people. 

Not only will it save you money, but will save them a lot of time and frustration if you were to go the traditional route of school.

Out of all the options, I believe starting your own business is the best choice to go about.

Specifically starting an online business is a much better option than opening up a traditional one. 

It’s a choice that I wish I would’ve done right after high school. I believe it would’ve helped me build my knowledge and skillset much sooner.

If you’re interested, get rolling with your free starter account today.

Your Turn: Which option is more appealing to you? 

I would like to get your thoughts on this topic do you believe there are better alternatives to going to college?

If so, which one on this list do you find works best? 

Do you find freelancing or doing gig-related work is much easier than getting started? 

Do you believe starting your own business will benefit you more than you think? 

Do you think it’ll help give yourself more financial and time freedom?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your thoughts, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

2 thoughts on “What Should I Do If I Don’t Want To Go To College? 7 Options”

  1. Personally I don’t think college is necessary. Unless you want to be a doctor or a lawyer or something that actually requires college, then yes it would be a necessity. 

    But other than that, I believe that it is a waste of time, energy, money and resources. 

    I spent a few years in college only to realize that I could have did the same thing that I am doing without attending college. 

    • Hi KD,

      I hear you- it sounds like we’re on the same page when it comes this topic. You and I went through similar experiences when it comes to college.

      It’s not uncommon, and it’s something that needs to be addresses at some point. Sooner than later I hope.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re greatly appreciated.


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