The UnCollege Alternative: Your Guide to Incredible Careers and Amazing Adventures Outside College

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9780060393083: The UnCollege Alternative: Your Guide to Incredible Careers and Amazing Adventures Outside College

Think College is the Only Path to Success? Think Again!

Want to think out of the box? Want to change your perspective on your future? Feeling ambivalent about going to college and going into debt? Then join the world of alternative thinking, risk-taking, adventure seeking, and change. Join the Uncollege revolution and learn that you can create a profitable, exciting, creative, and amazingly successful future without a college degree.

Whether you're a high school student considering your next step, a college student seeking change, or even a college graduate looking for creative alternatives to the conventional path, this is up-to-date guide will provide a wealth of life-changing ideas and resources, including advice on:

  • Great careers without a college degree
  • Taking time off before or during college
  • Opportunities for adventures around the world
  • Internships, apprenticeships, and training programs
  • Community service projects that pay
  • Starting your own business

You are living the most exciting time in history! Seize the day! Take the Uncollege Alternative!

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About the Author:

Danielle Wood lives in San Francisco. Although she went to college, she's taken a lot of her own advice: she was an apprentice, an intern, a voracious traveler, and a self-proclaimed dabbler before trying her hand at writing. She's currently at work on her second book.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
Just the Facts:What Your Guidance Counselor Isn't Telling You About College

You can do a lot of things if you don't know you can't.-- Sam Brownback, U.S. Congressman

You had about ten years of bliss. From six to sixteen almost no one asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Junior year of high school hits and whammo! Suddenly you're supposed to have all the answers. And you don't, do you?

Well frankly, if you did it would be a miracle. At sixteen it's doubtful that your work experience extends beyond the local mall. The truth is, it's a rare person who's sure what they want to do with their life at age thirty, let alone thirteen.

OK, so here's the problem. Just because you don't know what you should do with your life doesn't mean no one else does. We're talking parents, grandparents, guidance counselors, the mailman . . . everybody's got an opinion. Unfortunately, your uncertainty makes you a prime target--you might as well be wearing a sandwich sign scrawled Please Advise. In other people's eyes, you're like a fresh lump of clay, waiting to be molded. Your Uncle Morris wants you to be a lawyer. Your mom tries to convince you that accounting is making a comeback. Plastics, your neighbor winks.And then it comes, like a life preserver thrown over the edge of a sinking ship . . . the college option. Four heavenly years of keg parties and career postponement. A sticker from the college of your choice slapped onto the bumper of your proud parents' car.

There's no doubt about it. In this day and age, going straight to college is the obvious choice. So obvious, in fact, that few people consider doing otherwise. Before I shatter your illusions, let's get one thing straight--this book isn't meant to convince you that college is a waste of time. I spent four years behind university walls and I don't regret it for a minute. What this book is meant to do is open your mind to a sea of options you may never have considered, so convinced were you that college was the only ride down the rainbow to the pot of gold. Let me throw a curveball your way--you can succeed in life without a college degree. Almost 20 percent of this year's Fortune 400 Richest People did.

History Lesson

Heading straight to college may seem like a given now, but this wasn't the case for most of the century. Before World War II, only one in six Americans went on to college. Then along came a little thing called the GI Bill, meant to make it possible for former soldiers to get an education. Suddenly the college gates were thrown open and the stampede began. It's only in the past fifty years that college was transformed from the exception to the rule. Since the end of World War II, the number of entering freshmen has shot up from 15 to 65 percent. College is being touted as the new necessity.Which would be fine if it were true. News flash: 70 percent of all jobs in the United States only require alternative education and on-the-job training. Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way trying to say that college is useless. Higher education is a wonderful thing. But be aware that it's also a two-hundred-billion-dollar industry. It's no accident that the national opinion about the necessity of a college degree has changed--it's the result of years of hard-core marketing.

Never before have so many students been told that college is the way to go. A study by the U.S. Department of Education showed that a whopping 65 percent of 1990's high school sophomores reported being told by their guidance counselors that they should apply to college--twice as many as in 1980. Even students who scored in the lowest quarter of their high school class were being pressured to apply--never mind the fact that they showed little interest in hitting the books.

The Big Lie

When I was a kid, my mom would never make me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She told me I didn't like them. I grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches and jelly sandwiches, but never mixing the two. Truth is, I didn't try a peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I was about twenty. Strangely enough, I loved it. All those years my mom had told me that I hated PB&J. And I believed her. Turns out it was my mother who hated it, not me. I had been subtly brainwashed . . .

So big deal. I ate tuna fish. In this particular case, the consequences weren't drastic. But college is another story. All across America, high school students are being told that college is their admission ticket to life, as if their diploma will pave the road to certain success. The truth is that there are more college graduates than there are jobs that require a degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 28,983,000 college graduates in the labor force in 1990. Twenty percent of them were underemployed--working in jobs that didn't require a degree. And despite the contention that college will land you a fat little paycheck, statistics from the Bureau show that more than one fifth of college graduates earn less than $23,317--the median for kids with no more than a high school diploma. It's true that college opens doors for a lot of people. But be aware that each year a large chunk of college kids graduate and wind up working behind the same Starbuck's counter as their GED brethren.

This isn't meant to depress...

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