May 1, 2023 | Bryan Wanzer

Post High School Pathways

86% of students feel pressure to pursue a four-year degree. However, there are many other post high school pathways that are just as rewarding—and a lot cheaper too!

As graduation season nears, many high school seniors are excited about finishing one chapter and looking forward to attending a college or university in the fall. However, for many, what comes after high school graduation can be a difficult decision. In a recent survey conducted by the ECMC Group, 86% of US students feel pressure to pursue a four-year degree mostly citing pressure from parents or family and society at large.

Here at Find Your Grind, we aim to showcase all post-high school pathways for students so that they can look beyond societal pressure and focus more on the life and lifestyle they want to live. We also focus on the skills and talents young people have to find success in their career choices.

Below, you’ll find some examples of the additional post-high school pathways covered in Find Your Grind’s curriculum. These are highlighted in the same unit as traditional four-year pathways – beside topics like selecting a college and deciding on a major. Additionally, our ever-growing library of Explore content includes over 65 careers that need no degree, 25 that only require a certification, and 25 that require an associate degree.

So what are a few of the options outside of a traditional four-year degree program?

Community College

In 2020, about 20% of high school students enrolled in a two-year degree program. These degrees – typically earned at local community colleges – can be a great way for students to continue their self-discovery and figure out what they want to study while completing general education requirements before transferring to a university. 

Community college is also a much more affordable option, especially as more than 65 percent of students say the cost of tuition and the amount of student loans they would need are important factors in what they choose to do after high school.


Joining the military is another option for those people who aren’t sure what they want to do after high school. The six branches of the US military can provide young folks with steady employment, a wide range of benefits, and the chance to build skills for use in their civilian life and careers.

Certification or Trade/Technical College

Some careers just require a certification to get started. These certification programs can last anywhere from three months to two years and can get students working right away. Plus many of these programs are significantly cheaper than a degree from a college. Even many high schools provide the career and technical-aligned courses to begin receiving credits before high school graduation.

Going to a trade school or technical college is also an option for students to get trained on career-specific skills. The length of these schools will differ based on the skill being studied. When students finish their programs, they often receive a job offer and have support from their school’s placement services to find the right fit after graduation.

Gap Year

The Gap Year Association, an Oregon-based non-profit estimated about 130,000 students took a gap year during the 2020-2021 school year before attending college. This is a great option to let students gain work experience, earn some money, explore interests, or travel the world. It can also provide the opportunity for students to self-reflect and focus their attention on what should come next for their future and what path they may want to take.

Entering the Workforce

Students may also elect to join the workforce and get started on their career path right away. In fact, Find Your Grind’s Explore content has over 55 careers that require no degree for students to learn about.

When the ultimate goal is to live a lifestyle you want, there’s no reason to delay getting started!

To learn more about how Find Your Grind prepares students for all potential pathways after high school, contact us.

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