From the time you were a young age, you were probably told that if you wanted to have a successful future, you would have to attend college. But if studying, writing papers, and taking exams aren’t your thing, than you might be wondering how you’re ever going to get ahead in life.

Don’t get down on yourself. The truth is, college isn’t for everyone. For some people higher education (and even high school) isn’t their thing. And you know what? – That’s perfectly OK! Despite what you may have been told your entire life, you don’t have to get a 4-year degree to make a lucrative income and be widely successful.

If you aren’t the cap-and-gown, diploma-seeking type, think twice before you pay for an essay to get accepted to a university. Here’s a look at some very respectable alternatives to college.

Attend a Trade School

If college isn’t your thing, a trade school is an excellent alternative, especially if you enjoy working with your hands. There are so many options to trade careers to choose from! Some of the top options include:

  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing
  • Masonry
  • Welding

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Being a tradesman can be extremely lucrative. You can start making money while you’re attending school and when you graduate, you can land a career that offers excellent wages, as well as job security – especially if you join a union.

Start Your Own Business

There’s really nothing better than working for yourself. The satisfaction that you’ll get when you start your own company from the ground-up without having to be a yes-man and answer to superiors is just so rewarding.

If you are passionate about something, why not turn that passion into your own business? Think creating a successful business is something that’s only reserved for the lucky? Think again! As long as you have the drive, the desire, and the willingness to put yourself out there, you can establish an incredibly successful business. Need some inspiration? Here’s a list of some of the most affluent businessmen of modern times (and not one of the men has a college diploma!):

  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Richard Branson
  • Michael Dell

Heck, even Walt Disney (that’s right, the man who started the Disney empire) started his own business without a college degree!

Consider Volunteering

If aren’t quite sure what path you want to take (like so many men), consider volunteering. You’ll gain valuable life experience, learn a wealth of knowledge that you would never be able to attain while listening to a lecture, you’ll help other people – and you’ll just feel good about yourself.

By volunteering, you can learn a lot about yourself and the world, and you can discover your purpose in life. Talk about a truly life-changing experience! There are tons of opportunities to volunteer; consider joining up with a program like the Peach Corps or Americorps. They offer structured programs that allow you to give back to others around the globe and help you figure out what direction you want to take.

Enlist with the Military

pexels photo 698552 1 - The Gentleman’s Guide to College Alternatives

Yet another excellent alternative to college is the military. Whether you join the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, or any other branch of the military, you’ll gain so much more than you ever could in college.

What are some of the benefits of joining the military? Well, first and foremost, you’ll be protecting the freedoms that our country is founded on. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills, meet and help people around the world, have job security, and even gain an outstanding education (yes, even if college isn’t for you.) Plus, there are so many promotional opportunities and other benefits that are associated with being a member of the military. And most importantly, it’s a career that you can really be proud of.

Start at the Bottom

If you want to establish a great career but none of the options listed above really float your boat, you can always consider getting an entry level job. There are tons of big-name companies out there that are willing to – nay, that would prefer to – hire a high school graduate over someone who has a 4-year degree. Industries that are famed for offering entry level jobs include retail, hospitality, restaurant, and more!

When you first start out, you probably won’t make much; however, if you do a good job and prove yourself, you can rise through the ranks pretty quickly and land a high-paying job with great benefits.

Who Says You Need to Go to College?

Despite what your parents, your grandparents, and your high school guidance counselor told you, you really don’t need to attend college to attain a secure job that pays quite handsomely. There are tons of options out there that don’t require going to college.