Other Post-secondary Options
Students who prefer a hands-on approach to learning may want to consider an apprenticeship program. Apprentices learn a skilled trade through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs are considered by many to be the best way to receive training in the skilled trades.
Apprentices receive on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Apprenticeships are agreements in which employers pay individuals while they are learning their trade or profession. Apprenticeship programs demand hard work and dedication. Those who receive their training through apprenticeship programs are provided with power and opportunities for advancement.
Employment is an appropriate option for some high school graduates. Turn a job into a career. High school graduates with no vocational training will probably find that they have limited career options. In many cases they will find that they are, in reality, not entering a career field as much as they are “getting a job.” In most cases they will also find that they will not be making much more than minimum wage, and opportunities for advancement will be very limited.
On the other hand, business and industry are always anxious to find employees who are hard-working, polite, punctual, well-groomed, willing to learn, and able to get along well with others. Of course, if a student has a particular talent or skill in sales, art, computer, etc., he/she can be very valuable to an employer.
A gap year is typically a year-long break between high school and college/university. During the gap year a student normally travels or maintains some type of regular work. Students who take gap years typically undergo a growth in maturity and may be better prepared to benefit from higher education or decide the form of education they wish to pursue. The key is to have a plan in place and still apply to college in senior year of high school. Once admitted to college, a student makes the decision to accept and at the same time request a deferral of their enrollment for a semester or a year. More information about gap years may be found at the U.S. Gap Year Association: https://gapyearassociation.org and about gap year fairs at https://usagapyearfairs.org/programs/ .
The military trains young men and women so that they can protect the interests of our country. In order to do this, the military offers qualified high school graduates a good salary and free training. The military also provides discipline and structure, as well as opportunities for career advancement and travel. The United States military is the nation’s single largest employer. It offers training and employment in over 2,000 job specialties, 75% of which have civilian counterparts.
There are four major branches of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Opportunities for students also exist in the Coast Guard, the National Guard and the Reserves. College students who take ROTC will enter the military as officers, while academically gifted students will find excellent educational opportunities at the four military academies (West Point, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard). Additionally, some colleges and universities have military training embedded in their campuses (Citadel, Virginia Military Institute).
Some students choose to take a postgraduate or PG year after graduating from high school. Students can take advantage of this year-long program at their own private school or at another school. Many students attend a boarding school just for their postgraduate year, as boarding school allows these students to experience life away from home while still having the requisite structure and guidance from teachers and advisors. While the PG year has been traditionally known to support boys, an increasing number of girls are taking advantage of this important program. Some reasons certain students may benefit from a PG year at private school include: greater maturity, better chances for college acceptance, better academic skills, and the ability to build one’s athletic profile (sometimes a student-athlete will take a post-grad year to grow bigger, stronger, more skilled in their sport). Bridgeton and Gould Academies in Maine have PG programs.