Alternative College Options

Alternative College Options

It’s May, and for all you high school seniors, graduation is only weeks away. This is both an exciting and nerve wracking time.

Everyone has been asking you where you plan to go to school and what you’re majoring in. I can’t tell you how many times I got asked that my senior year, and once spring rolls around how much it intensifies by 1088248308%.

Maybe you are still unsure and undecided. And that is totally okay! There is nothing wrong with that! (Check out my article about following your passion here). Maybe you are thinking that traditional, brick and mortar college isn’t for you, you want to ease into it, you want to work or travel or don’t have the funds to go right off the bat to a 4 year university. That is totally okay!

Today I am sharing two alternative college options if you are thinking any of the just mentioned things!

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Perks of Long Distance Best Friends

Perks of Long Distance Best Friends

By: Samantha Goble

Would you believe me if I told you half of my friends group I’ve never even met? It’s true almost half of my best girlfriends I have never met or spoken a word to face to face. I met these amazing girls all online. One of my best friends Katie who you see me tweeting to allllll the time and who I founded Tribe 21 with I met through Twitter and it will be 4 years (I think…?) this April that we have been friends. Four years of completely being friends online. The others I met through Tribe 21 and we are super close and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. And since I moved across the country from Kansas to California all my friends from school are still there. So actually all of my best friends are long distance ones…. Some might say having long distances best friends is hard and the worst but I think it’s the best and here’s why. 

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With Spring Break right around the corner that means there’s only a few months separating all you high school seniors from leaving your comfortable digs as upperclassmen and becoming graduates, alumni and soon-to-be college students. The prospect of college may seem scary, nerve-wracking and exciting; I know it was all of the above for me. I was a 4.0 GPA student who was involved in everything in high school from student council to yearbook, theater and the National Honor Society. You name it, I probably was in it. I was one of “those” students who over-achieved, tried way too hard and took high school maybe a little more seriously than I should have. But that was my personality; I am a type-A, driven individual who works hard at everything and anything I do.

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I will be the first admit that I’m not the greatest when it comes to studying. If I know it’s a super important test then I will study by butt off, but other than that I’m guilty like the rest of you that hate studying.

1) Don’t wait until the last minute
Guilty as charged. It’s not that mean I wait until last minute to start to cramming for a test that I already knew about weeks in advance…it’s just that I kind of forgot about it. Most professors start to tell you to study as soon as they tell you about the test, and for some people that works. I would advise to start studying a week before the test, that way you don’t forget the material or get it mixed up with new material.

2) Rewrite your notes
I know it sounds redundant and more work than it’s worth, but believe me when I say it helps so much. Making note cards and flashcards work for basic classes and some majors, but not for all of them. If you are on that is guilty of copying down every single word that a professor puts on a powerpoint then here is your chance to write the notes in your own words to make sure you understand the material.

3) Go to office hours or email your professor
All professors have office hours, and they want you to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t understanding something, need more of explanation, or you aren’t sure what is going to be on test. Some professors will tell you to email them with your questions, and if you have any, I advice you do. It will not help them, but you will start to understand the material better, and the professor will more than likely remember that you asked a question.

4) Take breaks
I don’t mean that you look at something for five minutes and then decide to binge watch a whole season on Netflix. That also means that you don’t sit there and try to cram stuff into your little brain for seven hours. Listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to breaks, and sleep. Every once in awhile taking a dance party break won’t hurt and will help you refocus when the time comes.

5) Avoid all social media
This is tough one for all of us, because we want to watch the latest YouTube video, try to figure out who Sally is talking about on Twitter when she starts to quote tweets with “this”. The SelfControl
app is a great way to put a blocker on your web browsers and phones. Believe me, you might think you have the willpower to not look at your phone, but we all know the minute you take a glimpse at it, you’re done.

Do you have any tips on studying? If so share in the comments below! We’d love to hear! 



Read more about Katie here

The prospect of graduating high school and heading off to college is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Luckily, there are lots of people who have done it before that can give you advice.

1. Work Hard Your Last Year of High School
You finally made it to senior year, and you’re already looking forward to graduation and starting life as a college student. But your work isn’t over. As tempting as it may be to fully embrace the “Senior Slide” or catch “Senioritis” there are two big reasons you should work just as hard, if not harder, your senior year than the rest of high school.

First, your senior year of academics is still graded, which means it goes on your transcript.  Some colleges are in the habit of checking in on your senior year grades. And some groups that give out scholarships tend to check in on your senior year academics. While it might be fun to glide through your last year of high school, you still need to stay committed to your academics in order to impress the people who might be looking.

Another, more tangible, reason to stay focused is because it keeps you ready for the more intense workload you’ll be hit with in college.  College homework is different than high school homework. You have to be much more independently organized, because you don’t have the same class schedule every single day. Beyond that, college professors are much less likely to continually remind you to do your homework or accept it if it’s late. If you allow yourself to take an academic break for a year, it becomes that much more difficult to get back in the swing of it, especially when the homework is harder.

(Side note: You might be able to tell I’m a teacher by how much I care about this.)

2. It’s Okay if You and Your Friends Go to Different Colleges
It may not seem like it, but it’s going to be okay. One of my biggest pieces of advice to high school students looking at colleges is don’t choose a school based on the people who are or are not going there. That applies to friends and significant others alike. Advice everyone gives you, I know. But it’s advice everyone gives because it’s true. The prospect of being miles away from the people closest to you can be utterly petrifying. But that’s what college is all about. Venturing into the unknown with your head held high, ready to make the best of whatever life throws at you.

When you go to college, that is where you are going to be able to meet some of the best people in your life.  They didn’t see you at your awkward stages growing up, so all they have to go on is who you are now.  If you choose a college based on a bestie or significant other, you may miss out on these amazing people.  While I totally understand how nice it would be to have a person you are comfortable with at your side all the time, it can limit you from really branching out and trying to meet new people.  However, this isn’t saying you can’t be friends with your high school group if you do end up at the same college, I’m just saying, don’t make your choices based off of them.

3. You Don’t Have to Know What You Want to Be
I can guarantee that you will get sick of people asking you what you’re going to school for. You’ll feel an overwhelming pressure to know, and you might, but you might not. And that’s okay. Deciding what to study in college is a huge decision, and you don’t want to rush in to something you aren’t passionate about. Don’t feel like you need to know going in, you still have time to decide. When you start college, a lot of the classes are general classes that everyone has to take, so you have a built-in time buffer.

Your passions might change in your first year of college.  I have so many friends who changed their major going into their second year of school because who they thought they were, and what they thought they wanted totally changed.  And that is perfectly okay, normal even. So if you aren’t sure what you want to do, don’t stress.

I know that as a high school senior the last thing you want is another person who’s older than you giving you advice. But if I could give you one last thing to think about, it would be to take it. You may not think you need it now, but someday you’ll be glad to have it.



The reality of choosing a college is sometimes it is a truly daunting task. There are so many programs to choose from, schools to pick, or even alternative programs if you decide not to go to a university.

Choosing a college to attend after my senior year of high Shhool was a challenge. I know I wasn’t alone in this decision as many of my friends and I would have in depth conversations over lunch about which schools would best fit us. Maybe you’re caught in trying to figure out where to attend as well. Never fear, you are not alone!

However, there are a several things you can do to make this monumental task easier.

1. Start by picking a program or major you are interested in
Find a program or area of study you are interested in and look for college’s which have a program that matches. Since college is expensive, it is worth it to choose a school which you can successfully graduate from to do something you love. It will also narrow down the amount of schools to chose from. 

In high school I chose to follow a pre-physical therapy track as well as looking at schools with an education program. (Two very different programs) While I was looking around for colleges, I was amazed at how many schools didn’t have both of those programs. This helped me to eliminate many schools and narrow down my search.

2. Figure out your budget
Now that you’ve narrowed down your pool of schools, the next step is to figure out if your budget fits any of them. Discuss with anyone who may be helping you with college or look at your own bank account to figure out what your budget may be. Make sure you choose a school which fits your budget and that you can attend that makes sense financially. 

By determining your budget, this should also help you narrow down what you are looking for. There will be some schools you may not be able to afford, and that is okay. Eliminate them from your list of schools.

3. Determine Whether to Stay In-State, or Attend Out-of-State.
This was a huge deciding factor of mine. Some of the schools I was interested in were on the other side of the country and at least three times zones away. I decided because of that, they would have to be eliminated from the list. Others were less than an hour from home. As much as I love my parents, I did want my college experience to be a little further away, so I ended up eliminating the schools closest to home. I decided because of Colorado (my home) was similar to the Midwest and not too far away, I’d limit myself to schools in the Central US.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with going to school out of state whatsoever, so you limit yourself to schools in-state. Maybe you don’t want to go to a school in-state which can also narrow down your list. Make sure you factor in transportation to school from home as you make your decision.

4. College Visit
When you have a few schools on your list you are serious about, consider going on college visits to each school. As a former Admissions Ambassador for my school, I cannot stress this enough. The top school on my list I idolized. It was my dream school even when I hadn’t been there before. When my parents took me to visit the school I was shocked to find everyone I came in to contact with was rude and cold-shouldered. I was so disappointed until I realized how much of a blessing going on that college visit had been. Had I gone ahead with attending school there without visiting first, I cannot see myself happy for long.

Visiting a college can give you a good feel as to what the school is like; how the campus feels, who the people that attend are, and how the classes go. I would recommend staying overnight in the dorms if the college allows it, and even attending a few classes. Get a good feel for the school with the whole intent of trying to understand, “Does this college fit me?”

5. Apply
Don’t delay too long in applying for schools. Apply for more than one or two schools just in case something doesn’t work out with your top choice. Make sure you proofread your application essays and have other friends read through them as well to make sure they best fit you. I even asked my teachers in high school to read through them to make sure they sounded strong. 

6. Look for Scholarships
Once you have applied, maybe received a few college offers, start looking and applying for scholarships. There are so many out there. Sites such as or even googling “Scholarships” can bring up a wealth of resources. Or ask your guidance counselor because chances are they have a list of various scholarships to apply for. Often, churches or small clubs and organizations offer scholarships which few people know about. Take a look around, I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. 

7. Talk about your college decision
The best thing you can do is talk about your college decision. Getting others’ input can be incredibly helpful, whether it’s your parents, teachers, guidance counselor, best friend, other family members or someone you trust.  By talking things through you can often make sense of the right path for yourself. This isn’t a decision to take lightly and it helps to have your tribe on board.

8. Make the decision that best fits you
In the end, your decision is up to you. Choose the college which best fits yourself, and celebrate when you decide! This is an exciting time in life and now all that’s left is to go enjoy it!

How did you pick your college? Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!