So much of senior year of high school is about looking towards the future.

For many students, that future includes heading off to a four-year college, possibly leaving home for the first time, and starting a new academic journey.

Yet the focus on heading to the university of your choice mere months after graduation can cloud the truth: There’s no rule that says you have to go to college right away, in the near future or even at all. And there are plenty of good reasons why you may want to take a different path post-graduation, be it enjoying a gap year before reapplying to college, pursuing volunteer work, or jumping right into the workforce.

Not feeling sure? Here are some signs that college isn’t right for you—at least, right now.


(via Shutterstock)

You Know What You Want to Do, and It Doesn’t Require a College Degree

Maybe you’re the friend who is always getting compliments for your unique makeup looks, and your dream career is to become a makeup artist. Or maybe you’re constantly cooking up new recipes and think you would be happy working in a restaurant. Instead of delaying your dreams so you can have the four-year experience, it may make more sense to skip the four-year degree and pursue the thing you’re interested in now by getting specialty schooling in that field. If you have a change of heart later, you can still apply to colleges down the line.


Academics Were Never Your Thing, and You Don’t See That Changing

It’s not about how smart you are—for some people, academics just isn’t something that ever clicked for them. If you’re someone who always dreaded homework and never really connected to your classes in high school, college probably won’t change how you feel about school. Sure, there are some major differences between the classes you take in college and the ones you take in high school, but if it’s more so about the process of school than it is the actual subjects you’re studying, it may be worth evaluating whether there might be a different post-grad path that’s simply more exciting for you.


You’re Doing the College Thing For Your Parents, Not Yourself

If your family is excited for you to go to college, it can be hard to walk away from the path they expect from you. However, if you’re not going to college at least in part because of what it can offer you, there’s a very good chance you might not see it through to graduation—or you may, but be miserable because you didn’t pursue the thing you wanted to. If there’s nothing about college you think is important or exciting, it may be worth having a conversation with yourself about the reality of the situation and why you’re doing it.


You Feel Like You Need to Get to Know Yourself Better

Many people say they “find” themselves in college, but it’s okay if you’re not ready to jump into school in order to get to know yourself better. If you think there are other ways you might be able to find your passion, such as giving back in a volunteer program, working at an entry-level job, or, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, traveling, it may be worth exploring those options. College will always be there, and if you go into it with a clearer picture of what you want to get out of it, you may ultimately have a better experience.


Want to read more about college? Click HERE to read about incredible and unique colleges around the country.