Friday, August 23

10 Alternatives to Traditional College

Most Americans instinctively know something's wrong with our nation's families, culture, politics, and education system. What we don't clearly know is how to resist these negative changes in a meaningful way. Scripture tells us that if we aren't for God, then we're against God. In order to be part of the meaningful reinstatement of Godly principles in our culture, we cannot simply go along with the cultural status quo. For many families, this means K-12 homeschooling. But what about the ever-elusive, increasingly expensive notion of higher education which we're told is bankrupting young adults yet failing to secure their future.

How do we ensure our youth can financially support their families in an ever-changing jobs market without risking their commitment to Christ on the dangerous road to cultural acceptance? 

After going the traditional college route, I quickly discovered it wasn't right for me. I'm currently working on completing my degree from Liberty University online in under 2 years. For some, college is the right path, and I respect the ability of those who go to 'traditional' college to make it through with their Christ relationship in tact. For me though, I chose to be at home in part to dedicate my single college years to drawing closer to Christ.

The media tells families that in order to achieve financial success and personal happiness they must purchase a 4-year, $80,000 degree which may guarantee a job post-graduation. What they don't tell you is that the traditional college route is really an exchange of goods- exchange your family's hard-saved money, 4 years, and a meaningful period of personal growth with Christ for 4 years of liberal propaganda, personal de-evolution, and a degree hardly worth the paper it's written on. If they make it out alive, only 50% will be employed in their field of study, 40% will need more education and 17% will have debt over $30,000.

Are there any viable alternatives to the traditional college route? 

1) College-Plus. A mix of online classes and college exemption exams. Around $15,000 for a degree.

2) Small business ownership. Did you know that 2/3 of homeschool graduates own a small business?

3) Online schooling

4) Christian colleges

5) Internship and apprenticeship experience -- many employers look more at real-world experience than a diploma. There are quite a few conservative political and social groups that promote based on internship experience.

6) Non-profit work. Demonstrating experience, passion, and willingness to learn new skills are essential. Volunteer experience combined with internships make a great combo for a future in non-profit or Christian work.

8) Specialized certification and training. Many jobs only require a certification: insurance salesmen, travel agents, transcriptionists, real estate agents, fitness trainers, drafters...

9) Community college. Completing of 60% of your degree at a community college can cut your total cost in half.

10) Volunteer experience. Everyone needs free labor! Some volunteers get the inside scoop on internships and new positions. When I volunteered at a National Park Site they wanted to hire me for a seasonal position- all without a degree. At the very least, volunteerism opportunities provide great references.


  1. You have many options here for people who want/need to extend their education. Linking with Living Proverbs 31. Your initial link was broken, just FYI.

  2. Many great ideas. I went to a Christian college for the bulk of my school, but I did combine several community college courses taken in high school and then during my summers at home. Christian schools can be quite expensive though - so I'd advise, if you're going to spend the money - make sure you're going for the right reasons and find ways to bring the cost down through scholarships, etc. For me, going to a Christian college to study theatre probably wasn't the best use of my parents' or my resources. I should have studied something else (which I realized about my junior year, when I felt I'd already spent too much of my parents' money to change my major and turn back). I went to a school that did great business, teacher, nursing and, of course, ministry training. Be sure to pick a school based on their beliefs as well as the quality of the program you are most interested in studying. And don't be ashamed to be undeclared and get your Gen Eds out of the way first. I wish I'd taken more time to consider those things instead of launching head long into a degree I now barely use. (Unless you count doing the character voices and singing during story times). Thanks for sharing this for other young people - you are very wise to be considering alternatives - esp. as tuition continues to increase. God bless!

  3. I do want to add that while I went to a traditional college, there was where I got closer to the Lord than I'd ever been, grew strong in my faith, and even met many homeschooling friends that are the reason I want to homeschool my own children when I have them.

    Don't assume all colleges are bad or not God's plan for you or your kids. Pray about it, college might be *exactly* where you need to be... after all, in no other time in young people's life are they more looking for answers. God calls many strong Christians to go to college so they can be beacons of light for the seekers!

    1. Thanks for your input! Yes, many Christian young people have been blessed through their college experiences. We need to encourage a culture of encouraging our young people in Christ rather than pushing them off too college, no questions asked.

  4. I was blessed to attend a Christian University on mostly scholarships. However, it is good to have many alternatives in mind as the costs of a four-year degree soar! Maybe it's because I attended a faith-based school, but I disagree that earning a four-year degree means wasting time in your relationship with the Lord. In fact, I experienced quite the opposite. I came into contact with people and ideas who challenged my faith, which required me to dive into the Word even more. This is an excellent list of alternatives, though! I'm visiting you from the Teach Me Tuesdays link-up. :)

  5. As a parent of a recent homeschool "graduate" who has rejected the cultural norm of going to college, I want to thank you for being brave enough to post this. It's not easy to be counter-cultural. What we have found most difficult for other people to understand is...just because you aren't going to college doesn't mean you aren't continuing your education.
    Love your seem very much like my daughters. Very encouraging post!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Yes, after going to college for a few weeks then revealing to stunned family and friends that I wanted to go home it was very difficult! Literally every person in my life fought the decision but I knew them Lord would bring me through and change their hearts...and He did!

  6. Excellent advice! I have to admit that I am just in awe of the thousands upon thousands of dollars that my friends spent (or the grandparents spent) so that their kids could go to college.

    Our children both went to community college first, as it's cheaper. Both kids got a scholarship for the community college so all they had to pay for was their books.

    Then, after two years they transfer to a four year for their remaining two years of college. Our oldest went to a Christian college in another state, he worked the whole time he was in school and got several scholarships to help pay for his schooling. He graduated with a 4.0 and got a job within months of graduating once he returned home.

    He lived at home for a year after graduating so that he could put more money toward his college loans. He is getting married next month.

    His brother is finishing up those first two years and he is also working his way through college.

    I just think kids need to explore their options, as your post pointed out. We know that several of our friends feel it's the parent's responsibility to pay for their child's college, but we don't agree.

    Doesn't make much sense for parents to go into debt at their age and into their retirement years! At least, not to us. We also think it's good for kids to take responsible for their education, they're liable to get more out of it if THEY'RE paying for it! :)

    Thanks for linking up today to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    1. Sounds like your family has run the gamut! There are so many options out there. Personally I came out of high school with 30 credits, took a few CLEP tests, and doubled up online and in-person classes for a semester. It's unfortunate that most American youth only hear of the 4-year option.

  7. Excellent suggestions! We were just discussing this very subject earlier this evening with friends.

  8. This is much appreciated thank you so much!


Thanks for commenting!