You’re a homeschooler. You’ve just graduated, or are getting close to it, and after you finish high school you’re planning on going to college.
But why? Haven’t you spent your whole education avoiding the traditional route? Why come all this way just to jump on the conveyor belt right at the most critical part of your education — the part that sets you up for your whole future?
Why College Anyway?
The point of post-secondary education is to prepare yourself for the world you’re moving into. But “post-secondary” doesn’t have to mean “college.” There are other ways to obtain a higher-quality and more effective education, and all the skills you’ve gained as a homeschooler have set you up to do just that.
If you’re like most people, here are the two biggest problems you’re probably having in figuring out your next step:
1) you don’t know what you’re preparing yourself for (because you don’t know what you want to do)
2) you think college is the only avenue for success.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to know exactly what you’re preparing yourself for. And here’s the even better news: college is not the only way to set yourself up for success.
That’s because homeschooling teaches you the ultimate skill: how to learn.
Knowing how to learn is a superpower. Once you have it, you can apply it anywhere — and then the only challenge becomes learning how to apply it to learn the right things to get you where to go — and I’m going to show you how to do just that.
Homeschooling equips you to skip college because:
- you’re self-directed
- you know how to learn
- you’re probably already doing cool stuff (which is what college is designed to help you do). Not only do you not need college, but — why get in the way of the cool things you’re already doing?
- you’re curious, and you know how to follow that curiosity to obtain knowledge
The principles of education are the same as an adult as they were when you were in school. The only real difference is the application. College is designed to help prepare you for your career, and get a more practical real-world education — but you can do that on your own, too, and in a far more effective manner.
Instead of paying people to learn, you can get paid to learn — by approaching your work as the basis for your education.
Ditch the traditional path. Here’s a better strategy for building your career:
Step 1: Start getting experience.
Real-world experience is the most valuable thing to pursue in your learning. Here’s why:
- experience gives you more knowledge
- experience gives you more context
- experience qualifies you for more and more opportunities
If unlocking doors and creating opportunities is the goal, then the best way to do that is by gaining experience.
Integrate your learning with the real world (which is the natural progression of an education — your secondary education gives you a foundation of knowledge, and college is intended to help you move towards applying it in the real world.
What is it that you want to spend your time doing? Do more of that. What careers are you interested in? Start there.
Treat yourself like an apprentice and apply yourself to learning from those around you. The best way to learn how to do something is to just do it.
Step 2: Treat the world like your classroom.
Don’t ever lose sight of this mindset. Approach your work as an education and treat everything as an opportunity for knowledge acquisition.
You already know this, but it bears reinforcing: learning isn’t limited to the classroom. If anything, the classroom is just a practice ground for refining your learning ability so you can take it out and apply it to the real world.
After you’ve graduated high school, you want to do that full-force.
Once you’ve started getting experience, start biasing that experience towards learning. Take jobs that are going to challenge you in new ways. Surround yourself with people who know about things you find interesting. Take on projects solely for their knowledge-acquisition value.
Step 3: Learn what people value and monetize your learning.
This is critical for success in the professional world. The world operates on value. People pay for things that are valuable to them.
Learn how to understand what people find valuable and are willing to pay for, and use that as a basis for your knowledge acquisition.
For example, say you’re really interested in psychology and advertising. These are both fascinating topics to dig into, and you could spend hours on end reading books and papers and writing your own research essays summarizing the knowledge you’ve learned. If you’re the academic type, you’d probably find this fun — but no one will pay you anything to do it. It isn’t valuable to anyone else, because it doesn’t move the needle in the things they’re doing. They might even find your essays interesting, but unless those essays directly acquire customers for the product they’re trying to advertise (and a research essay doesn’t acquire customers), then it has no value to them.
But there’s a more practical way to learn.
The practical application of psychology and advertising is to put it into practice. If you want to monetize your learning, you’ll want to apply the principles of psychology and advertising into a marketing campaign. Go find a handful of local businesses and offer to run their social media accounts for free for a month to gain experience and show off your skills. If they like your work after a month, they can keep you on for a monthly fee. If they don’t, you can part ways — them with a more refined social media strategy and you with a portfolio piece you can use to sell your next customer. Both parties win.
You’ll then use the knowledge you’re gaining in psychology and advertising to actually influence small changes in the world around you — getting customers to like a social media page, or convincing customers to make a purchase.
The first option (school learning) isn’t very practical. It’s just theory. The second option is knowledge acquired from practice, which is worth far more on the market and makes you far smarter as an individual.
Step 4: Set professional goals and structure your learning around them.
Forward movement is important in continuing to level up with your learning, and having goals is important for creating a structure.
Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, start challenging yourself to level up. Set goals for yourself. How do you want to improve next? What’s your definition of success, and what’s your timeline for that?
Structuring your learning in the form of goals will help you maintain focus and clarity, and it will help you make sure you’re getting the most out of everything you do.
Don’t worry too much about coming up with the perfect goals — you can always change them later, as your vision for the future changes. It’s better to have a goal and adjust course as needed than to wait for the perfect vision of a destination and never start.
Step 5: Maintain your habit of constant knowledge acquisition.
This point is important. You’ve spent years building a habit of consistent learning. It’s been part of the fabric of the way you live for years.
That’s a huge asset, but it’s only useful if you’re continually intentional about maintaining it. It’s easy to lose that habit if you become careless.
Learning should be something that imbues everything you do. You should pursue it all the time. Remember how I said that the ability to learn is a superpower? Learning unlocks all the other superpowers, too. So don’t stop chasing it.
Ready to implement this strategy to prepare yourself for the world and launch your career debt-free?
The world’s ready for you.
Here at Praxis, we have a bootcamp that helps you implement this strategy and kickstart your career launch.
Want to skip college and start something awesome instead? Schedule a call with one of our coaches to see how Praxis can help you do just that.