5 Things You Should Do Before Starting College

While many people attend college right after graduating from high school, this path isn't for everyone. Here are five things you can do before starting college if you're looking to expand your horizons and explore your options.

1. Take a Gap Year

Taking a gap year can be a fantastic way for you to focus on your own development, allow you the time to reflect on your goals or even discover a hidden passion. If you've been feeling burnt out after graduating from high school, taking a gap year is a great way to take some time for yourself and strengthen your confidence, independence and maturity.

A recent study found that 97% of students who took a gap year reported an increase in maturity, while 96% said that they felt more confident in themselves and their abilities. Furthermore, 77% stated that taking a gap year helped them uncover their life purpose. Instead of heading straight to college without evaluating where you truly want to go in life, consider taking a gap year to help you find your footing. Researching the pros and cons of a gap year can help you decide if it's the right option for you.

2. Get a Job

Securing a job before college is beneficial in many ways, as it can help you transition into adulthood as well as provide financial stability. In addition, it can give you a break from academics and help you clear your mind. Going directly from high school to college translates to eight straight years of studying, which can cause you to burn out quickly. In contrast, securing a job will expose you to the real world and teach you important life skills such as independence, collaboration, problem-solving and time management.

Furthermore, getting a job can help you learn more about yourself, such as your strengths and weaknesses. Going directly to college can make it hard for you to achieve this clarity that comes with personal development.

3. Travel Abroad

While not an academic endeavor, traveling abroad is the epitome of higher learning. International travel is a great way to experience new cultures, step out of your comfort zone and better understand and appreciate other people's history and customs. Witnessing a new way of life can be an eye-opening change from your daily routine at home and can help you discover more about yourself in the process.

In addition, the qualities that you'll gain from traveling abroad can be attractive to future employers. A recent survey found that over 60% of Fortune 1000 executives stated that global awareness was either "essential" or "very important" in preparation for a future career. Not only can traveling abroad improve your personal development and broaden your mind, it can also strengthen your resume.

4. Take Adult Education Classes

If you're not sure whether you want to go to college, taking a few adult education classes is a great way to sample college life without taking the full leap. Enrolling in classes from a variety of disciplines can help you discover what you're interested in without having to waste credits in college, and you may even find that you're not interested in attending college and want to take a different career path instead. You can start by looking up local community colleges and finding courses that interest you.

5. Volunteer

On a similar note, volunteering can help you learn more about yourself and your interests while also helping out your community. In addition, you can also hone important skills such as leadership and problem-solving, form lasting connections and put your energy towards a cause that interests you.

Taking some time off before you start college can be a great way to learn more about yourself and those around you. While others may disapprove of the idea of a non-traditional approach to education, these five options before starting college can encourage personal development, making you even more prepared for college and the job market.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page