As juniors and seniors in high school get closer to their graduation days, they usually start to think about the next steps into adulthood. They may be wondering about whether it makes sense to get involved in the college admissions process and if they do choose to be college applicants, how best to go about the whole application process. These are far from simple questions. After all, there are plenty of excellent careers that don’t require any college application at all.

That being said, college graduates are still more likely to earn more than high-school students who forego higher education post-graduation, although this trend is changing a bit. Various tech-related careers are great examples of options for high school graduates around the United States who are doing just fine without ever having written a college essay. If you’re a junior or a senior in high school who is wondering whether attending a higher education program is the right thing, or if you know someone who feels that way, read on for more info on the basics of career trends in 2021.

Those interested in tech may not need an undergraduate degree.


Recent high school grads in the U.S. belong to a generation of what’s known as “digital natives.” These are young people who grew up plugged into a computer network. For as long as they can recall, routers, ethernet, and IP address protocols have been a part of their daily lives. For this reason, and many more, plenty of new high school grads aren’t looking at how to get into top colleges, and are instead opting for a way to turn their tech-related areas of interest into a career.

High school students such as these will be pleased to know that courses on topics like “Intro to Networking” are available to individuals who want to learn about network security outside the framework of traditional higher education programs. These courses provide an important intro to the topic of network security, and graduates of the schools that provide them often go on to work at impressive companies. If you think that learning about cybersecurity for network devices is the right fit for you, it’s good to know that the entire process of your certification is pretty streamlined with the right school.

Those who have a dream school should still see an admissions counselor.


Even if you’ve been dreaming of attending one of the top colleges, like Stanford or Princeton, since you were a little tyke, you still need to think your application process through. After all, you’re not the same person you were when you were a kiddo and your dream school may not be the right fit anymore. Talk to someone with expertise in college application advising who can tell you more about prerequisites and walk through a typical acceptance packet with you. You may find that New York University isn’t right anymore, and a counselor can help applicants select universities that actually provide them with the education they want and need. A college counseling professional can also talk to you about scholarships and financial aid opportunities.

Taking a gap year may be a good solution, too.


Although taking a gap year may seem like putting off the inevitable, it isn’t. That is, it isn’t just a deferral so long as you’re making the most of it. If you spend a year reading text messages on your couch, that’s not great. If, however, you spend time road-tripping from New York to California, or across Europe, or volunteering on a farm in Guatemala, or a million and one other gap year ideas—you’ll find yourself engaging with new passions and having experiences that inform your decision-making process. If you think that you need another year to figure out what the right next steps are for you, go for it. There’s no shame in taking your time. After all, it’s your life, and you need to live it in the way that’s right for you.