How to Succeed Without College

Опубликовал Admin
14-01-2021, 09:20
Many careers require a degree and higher education, such as medical professionals or engineers. However, there are many that do not have this requirement and even some that do might overlook your lack of formal education in light of real world experience. By learning more about how you can focus on self-education and what employers look for, you can increase your chances of succeeding even without a college degree.

Deciding For Or Against College

  1. Look at obstacles. Before you decide to not attend college or university you should look at your reasons for doing so. By examining your reasons for not attending college you will be able to make an informed choice and better plan for your future. Review the three main reasons that prevent people from attending college to learn what effect they have on your choice:
    • Financial limitations. You may not have access to enough funding or loans to attend. Speak with the college's financial aid department before deciding college is impossible to finance.
    • Academic requirements. Oftentimes, colleges will require certain grades from a potential student. If you don't meet these criteria, it may still be possible to attend or to find a school that will accept you despite your previous academic performance.
    • Not enough time. It may be that your schedule is too busy to allow for course time. However, many colleges can work with you, offering on-line courses with flexible deadlines or by letting you attend at a “part-time” status.
  2. Understand the pros and cons. Both choices, either attending college and not attending college will come with their own benefits and hardships. Neither one will have clear advantages and in most cases these will vary due to your own personal situation. Examine how attending college or not will impact your life.
    • Pro of attending college – Dedicated teaching staff can provide you with excellent instruction.
    • Pro of attending college – Having an accredited degree can be attractive to employers.
    • Pro of not attending college – You can potentially save a large amount of money.
    • Pro of not attending college – You can still provide yourself with a good and working education.
    • Con of not attending college – It may be difficult to prove your level of skill without a degree.
    • Con of not attending college – Getting noticed over someone with a degree can be challenging.
    • Con of attending college – Expensive tuition can leave you in a large amount of debt.
    • Con of attending college – Having an advanced degree does not guarantee success.
  3. Fully commit. Whichever choice you make, you will need to be fully committed to making it work for you. Choosing not to go to college can be a great decision but you will still have to work just as hard at developing yourself as if you had gone. If you have chosen to not attend college, fully commit to this choice and begin working towards your professional goals in a strategic and well planned manner.

Choosing A Career And Setting Goals

  1. Examine your personal interests and preferences. Think about your personal values and needs when considering your future career. Carefully examining your own needs and wants when it comes to your career can help you choose one that is a great fit for your personality and skills.
    • Writing down your wants and needs can help you organize your thoughts and see them clearly.
    • Think about where you would like to work. For example, do you prefer an office, a restaurant, or the outdoors?
    • Ask yourself if you prefer to work alone or with a team.
    • Examine your preferences when it comes to deadlines. Do you like a busy and tight schedule or do you prefer to have things more open ended?
    • Try to think of positions that don't have a college education as a requirement. Some examples are gas plant operators, subway operators, electrical power line repairers and installers, and farmers.
  2. Take an aptitude test. Aptitude tests help you evaluate your skills and abilities, scoring you on specific criteria. Knowing which areas you are already proficient with can help you narrow down your choices when looking for a future career.
    • Many aptitude tests are available online and are free.
    • Some of the areas tested will be logic, numerical and verbal reasoning, spelling, math and computer skills. If desired, you can prepare before taking the test by taking an inventory of your interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
  3. Try using on-line career quizzes. There are many on-line quizzes that you can take that will help you to better understand which careers might be the best for you. Many of these quizzes are created and offered by both professional services or governmental services and can give you an accurate idea of which careers you might enjoy. Try some of the following quizzes to learn more about your career preferences:
  4. Set goals. A benefit of college is that it has very rigid requirements and schedules when it comes to learning new information and skills. Since you may have to learn these skills on your own, you will have to set definite goals for your personal development and strive to meet them. Try reviewing the details of the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting method to get started:
    • S – Specific : Goals should answer the questions of “how,” “what,” and “why”.
    • M – Measurable: Goals should have components that you can measure and use to track your progress.
    • A – Achievable: Goals should be realistic and obtainable while still presenting a challenge.
    • R – Results: Goals should focus on outcomes instead of the steps that will achieve the goal.
    • T – Time: Goals should have a specific length of time they must be achieved by, adding pressure and incentive to meet them.

Obtaining Skills And Education

  1. Consider taking free online courses. If for some reason you were prohibited from attending college or university you still may be able to attend some classes. Some universities and colleges offer free on-line classes and may even allow you to collect credit for that class. There are also many on-line courses and classes that are open and free to attend. Search on-line for free courses that might be of interest to your career goals.
  2. Check for community classes. Your community may offer local courses and classes that can impart to you the skills and information that you need for your career goals. Many of these courses will offer certifications or other documentation proving that you have obtained the skills offered by them. By taking these classes you can help increase your chances of obtaining a new position without having attended college classes.
    • Taking classes that offer certification can be a good way to demonstrate your completion of that course to an employer.
    • Public libraries can be a good place to check for community workshops and classes.
    • Some colleges will offer community classes, allowing you to attend without actually being enrolled as a student.
    • There are many community learning centers that offer courses and classes.
  3. Think about apprenticeships or internships. A good way to obtain education and skills without attending college or university is to secure an apprenticeship or internship. These are usually hands-on and direct learning experiences, allowing you to train specifically for the position you are working towards.
    • Some internships may be paid positions.
    • Many apprenticeship positions are paid positions.
    • Both apprenticeships and internships can lead to you being hired directly.
    • Many internships and apprenticeships are highly competitive.
    • Try looking online for open apprenticeships near you at
  4. Research trade schools. Trade schools are instructional institutions that are geared towards teaching specific trades and the skills they require. These schools are usually much less expensive than college or university and can generally be completed in only two years. Trade schools can be a good choice if you are limited by time or money, allowing you to still get an education and learn professional skills.
    • Trade schools are often much more affordable than college tuition.
    • Most trade school programs take only two years.
    • Trade schools teach skills that are in high demand such as welding, plumbing, health care, professional cooking and automotive repair.
  5. Consider joining the military. Joining the military can be a good way to get hands-on instruction in many skills that can work towards your career goals. The military offers training as well as funds for college after your service has ended, should you decide to attend. Do some research to see if the military is a good fit for your goals.
    • The military will offer training for whatever position and role you are assigned.
    • College funds are made available to those who successfully complete their service.
  6. Continue your education after you are hired. There are many positions that are open to those without a college education. The employers that make these positions available will oftentimes want their employees to continue to learn and grow in their professional life, making available funding and time to attend classes. Taking advantage of these classes, courses, or development workshops can be a great way to still receive an education while having secure employment.
    • Learning new skills and information about your current job will let you be at your best.
    • If you have to leave you current position, staying up to date will increase that chances of you getting rehired elsewhere.

Marketing Yourself

  1. Focus on your experience. If you are applying to a position and don't have the educational requirements, focus instead on your experience. Employers may favor your demonstrated experience over that of education alone. By showing your employer you are already capable of the tasks required by the position, you can increase your chances of getting that position without formal education.
    • Education does not always imply someone will be the best fit for a position.
    • Showing your previous experience can land you the position over someone with education alone.
  2. Demonstrate your skills. As part of your resume and interview, you should include which skills you are proficient at. A good way to show your skills is to prepare and share a portfolio that contains some of your best work. Showing quality work that you have already produced can be more appealing than that of a degree alone.
    • Only include your own work.
    • Include some information about the process behind your examples.
    • Use your example projects to demonstrate details about your skill sets. For example, having a published article might be a good time to mention you are a skilled with specific databases or technology used during research and writing.
    • Some skills may be more difficult to demonstrate. For example, if applying for a welding position you likely won't be able to include a live demonstration with your resume. Instead you may need to build a portfolio that has photo or video documentation of your skills or includes a small example of your work that you can physically bring with you.
  3. Have excellent references. Making solid, professional contacts can help you when applying for the position without having a college education. Find those you believe would enthusiastically recommend you to an employer and ask them if they would be comfortable acting as a reference for you. Having positive references can tip the odds of being hired in your favor, communicating your skills, knowledge, ability, and work ethic to your new employer.
    • Include people that you worked with directly.
    • Always be certain that the reference will speak well of you.
    • It's okay to ask your references to focus on specific aspects such as leadership or skills if you think your new employer wants to learn more about those subjects.
  4. Pursue freelance or entrepreneurial projects. You may want to take your skills directly to clients instead of seeking a position with a company or employer. Working directly with clients as a freelancer or by starting your own enterprise can allow you to let your skills speak for themselves, avoiding the need to prove them to any hiring person or agency.
    • You will need some basic business skills. Freelancing or starting your own small business will require you to market yourself, communicate and bill clients, manage your work and pay your taxes correctly.
    • Personal skill in time management is critical. You will be the only one responsible for managing your own time and work schedules.
    • Learn what your work is worth. You will need to accurately gauge what people are willing to pay and what you need to make your work worth the time you are putting into it.
    • Some websites allow you to search for freelance work. Try looking at to search for clients.
    • There are many examples of people who have become very successful on their own and without obtaining even a high school degree. One such example, Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, dropped out of high school at 16.


  • Take advantage of any educational offerings made by your current employer.
  • Take free courses, either on-line or at community center.
  • Set very definite and clear goals for your own professional development.
  • When applying for a position, demonstrate skills and experience.
  • Focus on self learning and self-development.
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