Unconventional education organizations say recent high school grads flocking to nontraditional pathways; could this be good for college and university admissions?

If Malia Obama’s doing it, you know it either is, or will soon become, a popular trend among the young crowd: opting out of a traditional 4-year college experience immediately after high school graduation to pursue nontraditional pathways to postsecondary education.

The eldest Obama daughter is choosing to take a gap year for self-directed learning experiences—a nontraditional pathway that the New York Times says is becoming an increasingly popular option among recent high school grads.

But that’s not the only non-traditional pathway to postsecondary education that’s popular among the young folk these days, say three education organizations.

According to a recent brief from Coding Dojo (a coding bootcamp), Noodle (an ed website aimed at helping parents and students make better learning decisions), and UnCollege (a program aimed to equip young adults with skills to succeed both personally and professionally post-high school), there are three distinctive nontraditional pathways students seem most inclined to pursue…and for good reason.

“College costs keep growing and student debt is over one trillion dollars,” explained Richard Wang, CEO at Coding Dojo in a statement. “These alternative education options can help keep student debt under control, while providing individuals with real-world experience and skills employers are looking for in job candidates.”

But should traditional colleges and universities be worried…or excited?

(Next page: 3 popular nontraditional pathways to postsecondary ed; what they mean for colleges and universities)

About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.


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