It happens every year.
Thousands of guys and girls pack up their bags and head out to their first year of college. It’s the normal and expected post high school option. Why rethink it? Why consider doing something different?
When I graduated from high school I felt like a total freak for not following the normal path and heading off to college.
When the fall semester rolled around I stayed home like a weirdo while every other fresh high school graduate embarked on this new and exciting journey we call college (you can read about that in more detail here).
During those years of “weirdness” for not following the cultures expected path, I often second guessed my decision to skip out on the college scene.
I would lay in bed and wonder.
“Did I make the right decision? Am I missing out on some epic part of life that can only be found through the college experience? Is it still possible to continue my education without going to college? Will I regret not having gone off to play basketball at the University level?”
I wasn’t exactly sure what my future held, but I was confident that college was not the option God had for me. I had prayed and prayed and prayed, and sought counsel from my parents. I was assured that I had made the right decision for my life.
I’m twenty-six now, and I can honestly say that I don’t regret skipping the college experience one tiny bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against college.
In fact, I have siblings and close friends who have benefited greatly from attending college.
The reason that I am writing about post high school options is because I’m concerned. I’m concerned about you becoming one of the thousands who trudges off to college in the fall (or sometime in your future) just because.
Just because it’s expected.
Just because it’s normal.
Just because you don’t know what else to do.
Just because all of your friends are going.
Just because you feel pressured.
Just because you think college is the only option for furthering your education.
Just because you want a ring by spring.
Just because you want to get away from home.
Just because (you fill in the blank).
I want to challenge you to step back for a minute and rethink college, debt and post high school options.
I want to challenge you to ditch the cookie cutter mold and think outside the box.
Don’t let the culture’s “norm” push you around and cause you to spend four (or more) years of your life pursuing a degree just because it’s expected.
Be a girl who thinks outside the box, plans smart, works hard, prays well, seeks counsel and pursues God’s best option for her specifically…which might mean college.
Let’s dig a little deeper into three areas that are bound to affect every girl who plans to turn 18.
There are many things to consider when praying about the possibility of attending college. There’s location, cost, private or public, living at home or living at school, scholarships, sports, classes, degrees, internships and on and on the list goes.
If you plan to attend college think long and hard about the pros and cons of what will happen over the next four years. Think about the degree you are getting and why you are getting it. Think about the cost and how you will afford to pay it. Think about the peer pressure of your professors and fellow classmates. Think about church options and Christian groups to get involved with.
Think about your future and make sure that college will be a benefit and not a hindrance or time waster.
I’ve seen WAY too many girls run off to school without thinking and praying about their future. Don’t live in the moment, plan ahead and think of your life 5 years down the road. Make sure your choice to attend or not attend will be a blessing to your future self and a decision that will honor God.
This is one area that college students seem to accept as a standard part of life. Let me just ring the bell loud and clear and say that school loans and debt don’t have to accompany every twenty something aged girl.
I’m twenty-six and have zero debt.
It’s not because I’m rich or because my parents spoon fed me every step of the way. I’ve just made the commitment to stay out of debt and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I work hard for my own money, I drive an old car and I don’t spend what I don’t have.
The Bible says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
If you have to go into debt to attend college, you need to accept the fact that you will be a slave to your lender until you can pay it off.
The debt won’t go away until you work hard and fork over the big bucks.
Now that I’m older and most of my friends are long graduated from college, I can tell you for sure that debt weighs heavily on a woman’s life. It’s binding and restricting and just plain stressful. Don’t go into debt if you can avoid it.
3. Post High School Options
Living in the twenty-first century has some serious perks. We as Christian women have access to amazing post high school options that no other generation has ever experienced. I want to share several ideas for you to consider that are outside of the normal cookie cutter college mold.
There are dozens of colleges that now offer degrees completely online. These degrees are a fraction of the cost and give you SO much more flexibility in your studies and schedule. A few great options to look into would be: Liberty Online, and Colorado Christian University.
College Plus is an amazing organization located here in my very own city. Basically College Plus guides you in testing out of, or “Clepping,” the majority of your college credits. This is an incredible option and one that I would highly recommend looking into if you feel like college is a must for your future.
Ellerslie is a Bible School/Spiritual boot camp located in Colorado. If you are interested in working with missions or just want to grow in your spiritual life Ellerslie is an amazing option.
If you have a passion for mentoring, counseling or discipling other girls, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors has an amazing do-it-from-home training and certification course.
Those are just a few ways that you can continue your education after high school.
Let me just finish off by saying that we as Christian girls should ALWAYS work hard and continue our educations whether we go to college or not.
Never stop learning. Never stop reading. Never stop growing in your education. Never stop working hard.
Let’s wrap it up…
If you are past the college age I would love to hear what you did after high school and hear why you chose to do what you did.
If you are an older woman we would love any advice or wisdom you can offer us younger women.
If you are currently in high school I would love to hear your thoughts about your future. Will you go to college or not? Will you pursue a traditional route or do something out of the ordinary?
Share your thoughts with us below.