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Paths After High School

The idea of college can be extremely stressful for some students, especially since the environment has become so competitive and challenging. The truth is that there are many different paths for success after high school and going to a competitive college may not be the right choice for many children. In fact, almost 30% of students drop out after the first year of college, some due to financial constraints, but many because they weren’t ready or it wasn’t the right fit. Therefore, it’s very important to explore the right path for your child after high school.

The typical college route

California state universities requires students to have completed the A-G high school courses to be eligible for admission (both UCs and CSUs). Likewise, other U.S. states have their own requirements (for example, here are the requirements for the University of Texas at Austin). Some students appropriately challenge themselves with Honors and AP courses and aim for high SAT or ACT scores.

Other options after high school

If a student has not met the A-G requirements or does not test well on SAT tests, it’s still alright There are many other paths for your child to consider:

  1. Apply to less competitive colleges that do not need foreign language credits in high school or are SAT/ACT test optional.
  2. Apply to colleges that emphasize support for a variety of disabilities, including learning challenges.
  3. Go to a two-year community college, which is a great way to ease into the higher education environment and eventually to go to a university for a Bachelor’s degree. Community college admissions are fairly straightforward and easy. It’s much less expensive and transitioning from community colleges into universities doesn’t require a student to take the SAT or ACT. It also gives students a much more flexible schedule, allowing them to be part-time students while also working. It can give them an opportunity to explore different majors. And often, community college faculty tend to be highly qualified, can offer more student support and their classes will be smaller than four-year colleges and universities.
  4. Apply to colleges that emphasize other skills and talents, for example,  music, sports, theater or the arts. These colleges will have their own admissions criteria, but are probably more relaxed on the strict academic requirements.
  5. Apply to an online university. For the self-directed child who prefers to be independent and have flexibility, online courses and distance learning is a great option. For more information check out college choice and guide to online schools.
  6. Explore vocational or trade schools.
  7. Take a gap year to pursue extracurricular activities and/or a part time job.



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