Not Doing College

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18-year-old daughter is floundering

Dec 2001


My 18 year old daughter decided not to go to school this year, 2001-2002. She had been working, but quit about 2 months ago. She's been looking for another job, but not very hard. We talked about available opportunities for her, but, unfortunately, I really don't know of any. Does anyone have or know about any resources for kids who didn't choose college? Internships, volunteer opportunities, community service, etc? I feel like she's floundering, that she really would like to be engaged in something, but is not sure what. I'd appreciate any help you could provide.

In response to opportunities for those who don't choose college, I suggest you check out Americorps on the web. They have a broad range of community service and leadership opportunities. In addition, I suggest checking out the site for Public Allies. There are many rich opportunities for those who choose not to go to college or to delay attending. Good Luck! Bella

Internships, volunteer opportunities, community service, etc? There are a number of opportunities, I think hooking young adults up with Skills Classes is one way to go-- for example in some junior colleges they have other classes than just the typical lecture class -- like music production, baking/chef school, working in a pre-school, like Montessori, massage school, sewing, jewelry making,sports, music, voice, dance lessons, etc.-- what are her current interests? That way she is learning a skill that will enrich her life, and perhaps get her going in a career or just juice her up to try other things.


  • Nabolon Bakery (up above College at the intersection just 1 block north of Ashby- internships - learn to bake)
  • Spun Sugar (classes making and decorating cakes and candies, etc.)
  • Stone Mountain Fabrics (Sewing classes)
  • Mechanics Class (Alameda Jr. College)
  • Sign Language (Vista)
  • Jewelry Making (Bead Shop on Shattuck near Virginia)

    -- Linda

    There is a website called It was created by a journalist whose son didn't want to go to college. She has also written a book by the same name. You might find some ideas there for you daughter who doesn't want to go to college right now. I heard her speak on NPR on the Work with Marty Nemko program about alternatives to college. Laura

    There are community service oriented travel organizations for teens who take a year off before college. These model themselves on the Peace Corps. Try Interlocken, 603-478-3166, -- it's the only one I know of , specifically, but there are probably more. If your teen is just not ready for college, but does not mind school, The experiment in International Living also offers international student exchanges, and in Europe, there is an additional year of highschool. Further, by researching ecology and wilderness on the web, you will find several service & field research programs for older teens -- involving tracking endangered species, worldwide; mapping tree loss, US, etc. Sorry, but I do not have the exact URLs handy. Costs on these vary considerably. Some are free.

    Does your daughter have a marketable trade? You don't have to have a degree anymore to get a good job, but you do have to have a marketable trade. Mine is graphic arts which I learned in high school through the ROP (regional occupation program). I am still doing the same thing as I was doing 25 years ago only with more complex equipment (which actually makes the job easier - gotta love those computers).

    Find out what she likes to do and maybe she could take a series of courses that would make her more successful. That's not the same thing as a degree. Someone once told me to get eighteen months of training (last couple of months) for anything and that will go a long way towards getting a better job. I've never stopped training since I started working (but no college). Technology is always improving so there's always something new to master out there. Look into the different trade schools. Perhaps she just hasn't figured out what she wants to do with her life yet. Marianne