Gen Z, If You're Not Going To College, Tell Me What You're Choosing Instead

When I graduated high school, I was told time and time again that going to college was my path to success. That I'd have more job prospects, be better equipped for the world, and most obviously, become more educated.

Collage of a graduate leaping up bar graphs
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While most of that is true, coming from a family of tradesmen, I also put myself under a lot of pressure to succeed as a first-generation college student and was left with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. And in the end, when I graduated and got a job, the salary was pretty meager.

Maya Rudolph speaking at a graduation ceremony
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But now, I am seeing more and more discourse that Gen Z'ers are rethinking the idea of college. According to the World Economic Forum, four million fewer graduates enrolled in college in 2022 than in 2012.

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So, if you are Gen Z and choosing not to go to college, why not? What are you choosing instead?

Maybe for you, it is the cost of tuition — you can't afford it and you don't want to be left with thousands in student debt. You don't really feel the need to chase society's version of "success," so you've started looking into seasonal jobs so you can constantly live and experience new places.

On the road outdoors. Adventure, travel and hiking. Bad weather, but happy emotions. Positive in everyday life.
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Maybe it's not quite the cost for you, but rather, you see opportunities elsewhere. You tried college for a semester but felt your time was better spent making money rather than losing it. Now, you founded a startup and you've already got funding.

Cheerful confident young person standing in convention center room and presenting his startup project at conference
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Perhaps you felt you could have more stability entering the trades rather than wounding yourself in a pile of debt. You're really great with your hands and quite creative, so you've started learning carpentry. You make your own furniture as well and already have many requests for jobs since not many people in your town know the trade.

Young entrepreneur sanding hand made wooden drawer in her workshop
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Whatever the case is for you, if you're a Gen Z'er and choosing not to go to college, I want to hear all about it! Tell me why you made your decision and what you're thinking about pursuing instead. You can share in the comments down below, or submit using this anonymous form.

Can't wait to read! Your response could be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post.