With or Without College: Alternative Futures


Haegan Altizer plans on following up on his two passions the year after high school: traveling and biking. “It’s not like I’m relying on my biking career to replace college, but I want to use my gap year to see where it takes me,” he said.

When our parents were finishing up their senior year of high school, they were being asked whether they were going to college or not. Now we’re only asked which college we’re going to. It seems like people now assume that college is a staple of everyone’s futures. To some, though, it really doesn’t fit.

 Haegan Altizer is trying to make everyone very aware of the abundance of options after graduation.

“High school doesn’t have to be followed up by college. People have it in their heads that that’s the only option. I’m trying to remind people that it isn’t,” Altizer said.

Altizer organized an event called the Decatur College Alternatives Fair. Organizations including Americorps, the American Field Service and the Aviation Institution presented to high school guests about gap year options.

“The beauty of a gap year,” Altizer said, “is that it gives you breathing room to decide what you actually want to do. You can submerge yourself in the world of an adult and are given the option of coming out of it or not.” 

For the last few years, Altizer has been working to save up money for life after high school. “I’m planning on driving across the country. Stop where I want to, take as long as my money can last.”

Altizer believes it’s good to keep an open mind about his future. “I’m not against college completely,” he said. “I just need a little time between high school and what there is to come.”

If you’re feeling out your alternatives, consider these options:

1) For those of you who want to give back to your country without joining the army, Americorps is a service program that travels around to national parks, poor communities, and disaster zones in the United States.

2) If you want to make bank and fame without acting or singing, you could become a professional athlete.

3) You could become an uneducated chef. It’ll be hard to get hired, but that’s when you flex your connections. If anything, minimum wage works. Anyone can settle

4) Get lucky and start inventing. Necessity is the mother of invention. Embrace that. And remember that its level of ridiculousness does not affect its success.

5) Chill out at home. Continue living with your parents for a year and see how much you want you really want that independence.