Finding Your Own Path
High School Graduation symbolizes a start of a new chapter for students. The options for Dreamers after high school are boundless. No matter your career and education aspirations, the "I Have a Dream" Foundation staff is prepared to stand by your side, help you achieve your goals, and cheer you on throughout your journey. In order to make thoughtful decisions about your future, take some time to understand the different options that lie ahead of you.
After High School Options
Four-Year Colleges and Universities: 4-year universities provide graduates with options for a Bachelor's degree, which is a key for many doors in the job market. On top of a Bachelor's degree, universities also offer graduate level programs to earn a Masters or Doctoral degree. There are hundreds of colleges in the US which can be broken down into categories such as private vs public, HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Liberal Arts, and religious vs secular.
Two-Year Community and Junior Colleges: These institutions offer two types of Certification: the associate's degree and the Certificate license. Two year colleges less expensive than 4-year universities and are a great starting point for a four-year diploma. Community and Junior Colleges also make it easier to live at home, provide flexible scheduling for students, and offer smaller class sizes. Explore more Colorado Community Colleges via the state website: Colorado Community College System website. You can also explore and search by programs to fit your needs.
Vocation or Technical College/School: These institutions offer hands on programming that can provide short career programming or apprenticeship. Program costs can vary and the program completion can be as short at 6 months. For Dreamers the closest Technical College is Emily Griffith Technical College.
To get a stronger understanding of the types of institutions, refer to the Post-Secondary Options (English and Spanish)!
Two-Year Community and Junior Colleges: If you earn a Certificate or specific Associates degrees you can enter the workforce. Many offer hands-on training to directly preparer students for a specific field or career. These programs usually take less than two years, allowing students to jump start their careers quickly. Not every career industry requires a Bachelors or higher degree.
Vocational and Technical Schools: These schools can offer Apprenticeship programs that can also earn you a Certificate or State Licensure. They specialize in hands-on training necessary for different fields such as electrician, ironworker, plumber, and more. These credits do not transfer to any other traditional university program. Explore these at Emily Griffith Technical College.
Gap Year: Feeling exhausted from school? Feel like you need a break? These emotions are very common directly after high school. Everyone has a different educational path, which is why we encourage Dreamers to truly listen to their bodies and hearts. A gap year can be a great time for students to consider their options after high school graduation. For those uncertain about college, it offers an opportunity to work, travel, and volunteer prior to college enrollment. If you are considering a gap year, reach out to the College and Career department to help you make the most of your time and ensure you're on track for your goals.
Internship: Temporary work that allows students to get a taste of a field. Internships are sometimes paid, allowing students to save money along the way. Consider interning while you're in high school and college to gain work experience and develop important skills that you can utilize in future careers.
Volunteering/Service Work: If considering a gap year, volunteering and service work is a valuable way of giving back to your community. Volunteering also allows you to find your passions and interests. Common volunteering locations include your local food bank, animal shelter, church. Other opportunities can take you around the world, such as the Peace Corps.