Different Options after High School

  • Different careers will require different training and education. Before we move on to talking about college planning, we will briefly cover the general options after graduating from high school, each of which has its own merit.

    • Entry to the workforce - getting a job with your high school diploma. This option requires as much preparation as any, and students should not wait until the spring of senior year to begin the process of preparing for and securing employment. See your school counselor for assistance planning and working towards this goal. We can link you to appropriate employment resources.  NC Works is a great website to assist you in your job search.
    • Apprenticeships - apprenticeships offer hands-on, on-the-job training and opportunities for industry certification and licensure while being paid during training.  Sometimes, apprenticeships will also include formal education in a classroom setting, sometimes even working towards college credits or degrees.  Find out more about apprenticeship opportunities at NCTAP.org.
    • Trade Schools (Vocational, Technical) - students interested in training for jobs with very specific, technical skill sets may want to attend a trade school for one to two years. See your school counselor if you are interested in discussing if this option is right for you.
    • 2-year schools (Community Colleges, Junior Colleges) - students attend 2-yr. schools for a variety of reasons. Some work towards a certification, much like attending a trade school. Some work towards a 2-yr., Associate's degree and enter the workforce from there. Some plan to eventually transfer to a 4-yr. school (University Transfer programs), but begin at a 2-yr. school because of cost, because they are not admitted directly to their top choices and want to try and transfer, and/or for other reasons. While most 2-yr. schools are commuter campuses, some junior colleges are residential and offer a campus community. Durham Tech's website is great to explore their programs, but you could also look into programs at other nearby schools or across the state at nccommunitycolleges.edu. Some programs will only be offered at specific schools. The closest schools to Carrboro are Durham Tech, Wake Tech, Central Carolina, and Alamance.
      • University Transfer Programs - many students begin their postsecondary education at a 2-yr. institution with the plan, from the start, to transfer to a 4-yr. school. This could be to save money, to stay closer to home for the first two years of college, to have a better chance at being admitted, or something else. Durham Tech's university transfer program is detailed here. In these programs, students complete two years of coursework at a 2-yr school, then apply as transfer students to a 4-yr. school. If admitted, they enter the 4-yr. school with junior class standing.
        • In addition, certain 2-yr. schools have more detailed agreements with specific 4-yr. institutions, which facilitate the transfer and admission process between those particular schools. C-STEP is an agreement between Durham Tech and UNC Chapel Hill, and C3 is a similar agreement with NC State. If you are accepted to these programse at Durham Tech, then you are guaranteed admission to UNC-Chapel Hill or NC State!!!
    • 4-year schools (Colleges, Universities) - students attend 4-yr. schools to pursue a 4-yr., Bachelor's degree. From there, students can then enter the workforce or continue their education through professional or graduate schools in order to earn a Master's or Doctoral degree.
    • Gap Year - Students choose to do a Gap Year for many different reasons. Some want a break, so that they can return to the classroom with renewed vigor. Some pursue activities to explore or refine an interest, passion, or skill, before moving on to the next level. It can be an amazing opportunity for personal growth, learning about different cultures, and/or experimenting with potential careers.  Still others may want or need to work for a year and save money before starting college. Many colleges and other organizations even sponsor official Gap Year programs. See your school counselor to discuss whether or not a Gap Year could be right for you.  You can read up at usagapyearfairs.orgwww.gap-year.com; and americangap.org/gap-year.php; and many college and universities sponsor gap year opportunities themselves, like UNC's Global Gap Year Fellowship.  There is typically a Gap Year Fair that visits the area annually early in the spring.
    • Military - military service can be an incredible opportunity and experience, whether through non-commissioned enlistment or enlistment as an officer,  whether full time active duty or part-time reserve or National Guard service, whether Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, or Space Force.  Benefits are hard to match, from the leadership, teamwork, and discipline gained, to the respect for and desire to help and hire veterans, to the more tangible:  career exploration and specialized training while in service, money for college, healthcare, and retirement.  The pay, vacation, and travel afforded to service members isn't bad, either.  You can do military and then college, college and then military, or both concurrently, depending on the option you choose.  Finally, the service academies (Army/Military at West Point, Naval at Annapolis, Air Force at Colorado Springs, Coast Guard at New London, and Merchant Marine at Kings Point) are among the most competitive and reputable 4-yr schools in the country (we're talking top-10 in rankings of mid-career salaries after graduation), and they're totally FREE if you're admitted.  Check out myFuture/Military and Military.com for more information about military life and benefits, or ask your counselor or the Career Development Coordinator about speaking with a recruiter.