4 Alternatives to a College Education

Last Updated on January 21, 2019

The following is a guest post by Allen Kors of Achieve Lending. Please contact me if you are interested in submitting a guest post.


4 Alternatives to a College Education

With technology leveling the playing field between economic classes, there are more “self made” successes than ever before. Because of this, many are considering non-traditional career-paths that may not involve a four-year college education. It is no surprise that with the rising student loan debt burden many are beginning to think “outside of the box” in terms of ways to get ahead in life. After all, life’s lessons aren’t strictly learned inside the four walls of a classroom! Here are four alternatives to a college education that you may not have thought of before.


Start Your Own Business

Nowadays it seems everyone is trying to sell an app or launch the next big tech startup. Launching a business, however, doesn’t always have to be technology related.

Entrepreneurs get their start every day, often from the most humble or bootstrapped of beginnings. If you have a great idea, some business know-how, or a proven business model (like a landscaping business or a few graphic design clients) why not forgo college and see where the opportunity goes? Launching a business is guaranteed to teach you a few things you won’t learn in school, and even if you fail, you’ll have one of the most valued life experiences.

Many countries mandate teenagers take a “gap year” between high school and university in order to travel and find out where their true passions may lie. How many people do you know that have a degree in one thing, but a great career in something unrelated to their degree? That is often how it goes. Forgoing traditional education (even if only for a year or two) and taking a job instead is a great way to assess where your true passions lie, and gain a significant amount of career and work experience in the process. Any type of work experience will make you more attractive whenever you do decide to start your full-time career.


Travel the World

This path assumes you have enough money saved up to travel abroad, but money isn’t holding you back, what is? Travel is one of the best ways to expand your mind and figure out your own place in the world. You career should align both with what you are talented at, and what you’re passionate about. One of the best ways to discover these ideals and reflect on your personality is through travel.


Get Creative and Build a Portfolio

Writers, musicians, graphic designers, interior decorators, actors, and artists rejoice – while a traditional education will take you far, in creative fields most employers are concerned with your portfolio, or proof of your work, and you do not need to go to college in order to put together a slam-dunk portfolio.

As any creative can attest, practice makes perfect, so much of your time building your portfolio is also spent practicing your craft, which could take years to build something of a professional caliber. Whether you decide to get a college degree while you practice is up to you!


Financing for the Non-Traditional Set

The one thing these alternatives to college have in common is that they require money. While these options are not as pricey as a traditional four-year school, they still require financing to get it off the ground. It is important when evaluating these options to shop around for the best loan and interest rates, as this is the single biggest factor in determining how much you owe over the lifetime of the loan. And of course, if you elect to go to college, Achieve Lending, can help get great offers for you too.

Use Achieve Lending’s aggregator to shop loans.


If you could go back in time, would you still go to college? Or would you pursue an alternative path like those mentioned above?


Allen Kors is the Founder and CEO of Achieve Lending, the first ever search engine for education loans. Designed to help both traditional and non-traditional students find the best student loans, Achieve Lending offers users a free online portal to search, find, and compare student loans, often in as little as 30 seconds.

Kors founded Achieve Lending at just 27 years old after six years of working in the finance industry. His resume boasts time spent at the world’s premier financial firms, with positions in investment banking, private equity, angel investing, and consulting. After leaving his job in angel investing to pursue entrepreneurship and form his own financial technology company, Kors now aims to build the ‘Kayak’ for education loans and empower Achieve Lending users by providing financial education on the loan process and terminology.


My Life, I Guess

My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and career blog by Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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2 thoughts on “4 Alternatives to a College Education”

  1. I actually would go to school. I took the “non-traditional” rout owning a couple of small businesses in my 20’s then got married and be came a stay at home mom. I do have my associates degree, I was doing my prerequisites for nursing school and got the associates along the way. What I would have done differently though is go to college to get a degree that I wanted (which was journalism) instead of what my parents thought I should be doing.

  2. I think as long as you have some skills you do not have to go to college. College isn’t for everyone.

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