College Alternatives – 5 Things you can do other than University for Education

College Alternatives – 5 Things you can do other than University for Education

So, you are thinking that you are not ready to jump into University, or you just don’t like school and it’s not for you.  Post your stories, experiences and ideas below in the comments. I want this to be a discussion not a lecture! These are some thoughts and ideas that I’ve gathered thru reading comments in the Reddit forums and YouTube comments.

[This is an ongoing blog post and I will add to it over the months, including your suggestions!]

Currently: updating weekly

My College-University Playlist (helpful thought-provoking videos)

College Alternatives

If you have to get some degree but want to take on minimal debt:

1) 2 year Associates Degree at a Community College

Community Colleges are usually much less expensive than University, and a 2-year program instead of 4 is a good option for many.  Maybe if your family is requiring you to get some type of degree but you don’t like school, this could be a possible compromise.

Other types of ‘School’

2) Trade School

  • I don’t know much about Trade Schools, but I’ve heard it thrown out there as a college alternative. An option if you know what you want to do, and want to get right into learning that skill. For example Carpentry, Architecture, Design, Mechanics, etc

3) Specialized Online Courses

  • For example a course on Digital Advertising / Online Marketing
  • Go here for my recommended courses for building an online business
  • Catalog sites
      • for example, my Amazon Selling course
  • Want to learn “Business?” Wondering which books to get?
    • The quickest and most efficient way is to get the “67 Steps to Success” course.  It’s basically daily summaries of the best business books. It will save you time and money, and turn you give you a Wealth of Business Knowledge in the quickest fashion humanly possible.

If you don’t know what you want to do yet (most of us!)

Many of us (most of us) don’t know what we want to do career-wise when we are only 18! This is completely normal! Which is one of the main reasons for the hypocrisy of the University system! It forces teens to pick a field of study when they don’t even know for sure what career they want, and haven’t even taken a job shadow in the field! (smh in hindsight, right)

4) Take a ‘Gap Year’

Take a ‘Gap Year’ (or two, or three) before committing to further education! No need to commit fresh outta High School!

At it’s core, a gap year just taking a year or more to think about it before committing to higher education – and if it’s right for you. This could mean working, travel, time to try things, or a combination of them. Take this time to dive deep within yourself and try to find something that appeals to you, career wise.  As Gary V says, ‘your 20’s is risk taking time!’ A gap year is quite normal in the UK and Australia! I meet young cats traveling on gap year all the time. But a gap year doesn’t have to mean travel! It can mean joining to workforce as well, or a combo.

I’m more passionate than ever about, from 20-30 is the time that we must take the BIGGEST risks in life. – Gary Vaynerchuk

5) Get a commission sales Job

Many entrepreneurs like Grant Cardone, Jordan Belfort (obviously) and others recommend that young hustlers try sales jobs. It allows your ambition to show, because how much you make is up to your work ethic, smarts and skill. And it’s usually easy to get hired, because the company takes minimal risk bringing you on, because if you don’t make sales, you don’t get paid (well sometimes there is a small base-pay).

This also is a relatively easy type of job to leave and take time off and go take risks, with the possibility of coming back again. There are plenty of software companies, from major corporations to startups, that need skilled salespeople. And if you are good, you can make 6-figures relatively quickly! Moreover, if you are good at sales at one company, chances are you can easily switch to a new higher-paying company and quickly be making higher commissions.

I had a corporate sales job after college for Comcast, selling internet and cable packages…. but door to door! I made about $80,000 in one year after sales commissions and a small base pay. I was able to save up 20k in my bank account at it’s highest.  Then I bought a CAR for $10,000 cash! Don’t do this! lol. Please invest it in a side hustle instead, young Riley.

  • I did door-to-door sales, but that’s only for the ultimate hustlers! Often a summer-only job. But the best make great money.
  • Look on CraigsList for sales jobs

Things to think about  on the journey to finding out ‘what you want to do’

“I want to ‘get into business'”

On our recent visit to Prague I met a British kid in the club on his gap year. I congratulated him on taking the gap year and not rushing into Uni. I asked what he wanted to do (knowing obviously he doesn’t know yet), and he says ‘I don’t know bro, but I wanna get into BUSINESS.’

When I hear this I think, ‘Great! He’s ambitious and wants to be rich, like be a millionaire.’ Lets say rich is making over $250,000+ in the US, which is the top 5%. (Fun fact, $500,000+ is the top 1%, and $77,000+ is the top 50% in the US)

My next question would be to find out if he has the entrepreneur mindset yet. Because to oversimplify it, there are two main types of ‘getting rich’.

A: Corporate / Employee / Executive Rich

B: Entrepreneur / Business Owner / Investor Rich / Be “Your Own Boss” Rich

One of my biggest fears is when a young ambitious kid, with great potential to be an entrepreneur, goes in to the corporate system with great intentions to to well, and before you know it, gets promoted to Manager, has a great paying salary with responsibilities, and all of a sudden doesn’t have the freedom to take those entrepreneurial risks that Gary Vee says are important to take in your twenties.

So, I would recommend to my high school self to take some time to think deeply if a 9-5 type career / lifestyle is what I want long-term. If yes, great! If not, then I know not to get too sucked in from the get-go.

Now, not everyone wants to get ‘rich’. Some people just want a decent income and a good life. That’s great and normal too. But what we all want is more flexibility and options in our life for sure. This is pretty much universal. I don’t know anyone who wishes they had less flexibility and options in their career.

So the point is, some jobs / careers have more flexibility than others. E.g. vacation time, flexibility to take days off when you need, flexibility to make or partially create your own workweek schedule, etc. I wish I asked myself these questions in high school and college.

To sum this up, is a chart called the Cashflow Quadrant. I discovered this a year after college and it made me realize that, to get ‘rich’ I needed to be a BUSINESS OWNER and INVESTOR for life, instead of a great employee!

Image result for cash flow quadrant

True story, I was on my door-to-door sales job when someone ‘recruited’ me for theie MLM company, and gave me the book called Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki, lol. While I highly recommend NOT getting into MLM or multilevel marketing (I went down that wormhole, just start your own freedom business instead), the book was a key insight in my entrepreneurial journey.

Some Questions to ask when considering college & career/life path:

In hindsight, there are many questions that we don’t get asked in high school and college about thinking about career and life possibilities. But understandably! Because at it’s roots, school is meant to produce good employees for the corporate system. It’s not meant to produce a bunch of ‘unrealistic dreamers’. But the funny thing is, it WILL be the ambitious minority, people like you and I, who take our success into our own hands, and end up becoming the innovative entrepreneurs who truly drive economic growth into the future.

Or, go thru the interactive survey below this to get your mind thinking, and get recommended advice.

Who’s someone I want to LIVE my life like?

Is there someone out there in social media where you’re like, ‘fu*k yeah, I wanna be like that guy/girl’.  Now we can’t always do exactly what they’re doing to make a living, like be an actor or sports player or musician. But look deeper on YouTube for more ‘regular people’ influencers that are living lives that might somewhat resemble the type of life you want to live. Figure out how they are making a living doing this. Doesn’t need to be the same exact method, but just adapt certain principles about how they go about their career life, and balance it with life life.

How much do you value international travel & experiences? 

This is involved in some careers more than others.

How much do you value being able to work from home when you want to?

Some careers are more strict with this than others.

How much do you value being able to take vacation time when you want to?

Some careers are more flexible in vacation time than others.

How much do you value being able to set your own work schedule? 

Some careers are more flexible in schedule than others.

Do you prefer working in teams, or are you find doing your best work alone?

This is a key thing to think about because if you can’t stand working alone, being a freelancer or solopreneur isn’t for you.

Are you a creative type? Do you want creativity to be a part of your career? 

Ideally for us creative types, we can find a career where we get to express our creativity.

Is a 9-5 type work schedule okay with you, or is it a no way?

Some careers work on the 9-5 schedule, and some don’t.


Take this Questionnaire:

Create your own user feedback survey

If you pay for an advising call, book a time here.

If you are wondering… UNI OR NAH?

So you don’t know if University is for you?

First of all… Do you want to be a doctor, dentist or lawyer? (Or a STEM field – Science, technology, engineering, math)

If yes, then yes ….. maybe.

If not… no. Don’t go to Uni.

ESPECIALLY if you want to be an Entrepreneur.  Everyone knows college doesn’t breed entrepreneurs, it breeds good employees.

And they’re saying Student Debt is Killing Entrepreneurship.

It’s simply not worth the investment if you know you don’t want to live the 9-5 type life. It’s so expensive relative to what you get…. you are not guaranteed a great job or career.

“You don’t apply for Dream jobs, you create them.”

If you feel social pressure to go to college because all your friends are doing it, find friends who are taking a ‘gap year’ and hand out with them.

If it’s because your parents expect you to and want you do, tell them you are GOING to take a ‘gap year’, and work for a year while you decide what you want to do.

If you already have an idea of what you want to do, learn about it through online education. Be it youtube, podcasts, or online education platforms like


So you DO want to be a doctor, dentist, or lawyer huh?

But the question I’d ask next is… ‘Are you SURE?’

I’d ask WHY do you want to be a doctor dentist or lawyer?  To keep it real with you, I’d ask if it might really be your Grandparents and Parents that made you think that, because that’s what they told you you were gonna be from a young age.

For most millennials, I’ll just tell you …. you don’t want to be a doctor dentist or lawyer. It may have been the pinnacle of ‘success’ in our parents and grandparents generation, but today, there are many careers that make just as much money, but offer much greater flexibility.  Entrepreneurs call this being a ‘Specialist’… e.g. you can make lots of money, but you don’t get paid if you don’t show up.

An entrepreneur or businessman on the other hand, builds systems that make money for him, regardless if he is in the office or not. He could be on the Croatian coast and his business is still operating, making him cashflow.

So, If you REALLY are truly passionate about Dentistry, being a Surgeon, or Law, then I’d tell my friends that, you should be creative and build a business around that field, without being a conventional doctor dentist or lawyer yourself.

E.g. Become an ENTREPRENEUR around dentistry or Law.  Find out what products or services could be beneficial to the specialists or customers themselves, and create a blog, app, service, or physical product to offer the industry. This way, you are not a slave to the 9-5 lifestyle, but you can still be involved in it, if it truly is your passion. E.g., and the Deliver-to-Your-Door toothbrushes are making millions.

How to start?

Step 1: Create a blog about your passion. Start to write articles about topics you like to talk about naturally.

What are the alternatives?

Simply put, we live in the biggest Education Revolution in History.

It’s all about specialized, specific online courses, instead of broad, general (and expensive) online degrees.

You can learn skills FAR quicker via these online courses, for a FRACTION of the cost. And many companies will acknowledge the certificates these courses give.

Simply put, companies want to hire talented people, not just people with degrees. So if you can prove that, employers will consider you.

BUT, if you KNOW you don’t want to be an employee — and you want to be an ENTREPRENEUR — most people e.g. Gary Vee and others, will say College is definitely NOT build for producing entrepreneurs.

Let’s face it — college is organized to produce great employees for corporations. That’s just the system. Not that it’s good or bad, it does produce great economies, but it’s not for everyone.

If you want to go to college for ‘Business”, this may mean that you don’t know what field, but you do wanna ‘be rich’. You have ambition. I’d say hold off and go find out WHO you want to live like, and emulate what they are doing.

This is the key idea in The 4-Hour Work Week… Think about HOW you want to LIVE, and design your career around that. Don’t let your career, e.g. how you make money, dictate the kind of life you have to live.

So if you know you DO want to be an Entrepreneur and be in control of your career and schedule, then you are in luck in this digital era we live in.

(My favorite part about running my own business is the flexibility of schedule, by far…. its the best thing)(second is freedom of location… I can live and work anywhere, including Thailand where I’ve been based for 4 years now)


If you want to be an Entrepreneur or Creative, the opportunities to build your own small brand & business are the greatest they’ve ever been, because of the internet. I’m just one example, but there are thousands.

On top of that, you can do this from anywhere in the world, if you want. If you also want travel and experiencing other cultures to be a part of your life — well you can kill two birds with one stone. Having your own internet-based career allows you to work form anywhere. Be it Thailand, Panama, or from home.

Someone who works from a laptop and lives in different cities and countries throughout the year is called a digital nomad. And this has been be for the past 4 years. So i’m just sharing my journey and saying that this IS a possibility.

So you want to do your own thing but don’t know where to start?

Let me know your thoughts in the Facebook Group!

What about the ‘College Experience’?

Noah, 18, asked me: “Based on your experiences at WSU would you say that going to college is worth it just for the overall college experience, even if your ultimate goal is to be a digital nomad?”It’s a GREAT question for sure! But short answer, no. 1. Depends on your financial situation! If you need to take out the 40k-100k student loan – def not worth it. Debt is like a chain, that limits your options. If your parents offer to front the bill, and they can handle it no problem, thats another situation.  2. The College Experience:  I’d advise my past self to really sit down and think about what I’m looking for in the college experience. I remember my Senior year in High School, I was EXCITED to go to College — for 1) the freedom/experience of not living at home, and 2) the partying. And of course 3) because all my friends were going to college, and some of them also to WSU.  But, and I’ve spoken about this before, you can still  1) live on your own, 2) go to parties & get girls, 3) hang with your friends & meet new lifelong friends, while NOT attending college classes.  Okay you won’t be going to all the frat parties (OR, if you just make friends with some Frat bros, you can surely get invited to some of their parties! Lol), but that’s just a bunch of binge drinking, let’s be honest. College is great at teaching you to drink haha.. party colleges at least.  … Now of course there is much more that makes up the ‘college experience’ …..  like walking thru a beautiful campus with your backpack on a lovely Spring day, going to classes, meeting new people in the same boat every day, all-nighter study sessions in the library, going to football games, being part of a semi-cult (lol), more studying, buying textbooks, cramming for exams, wearing sweatshirts with the college logo, frat parties & house parties, meeting tons of girls, sitting thru 1-hour lectures, getting lost on campus, going to Professor office hours because your grades are slipping, re-taking a course because you got a D in Theatre (happened to me loll), more studying for your Organic Chem quiz, getting partnered on a project with a hot girl, getting partnered on a project with an ugly girl, Ace-ing that Exam and riding a Mo-bike back to the Frat to shotgun a beer in celebration, living in a tiny dorm room bunk bed with a random weird dude from Alaska, getting in trouble cuz you’re smoking weed in your dorm (or blazing blunts in the Frat, happened lol), more getting blazed with randos, doing coke at parties, doing adderall to stay up all night to cram for 2 Finals exams tomorrow, asking for extra allowance money from parents because you spend it on blow, or went over your beer budget… and oh yeah, being able to say that you are “Alumni” of a school, or have that ‘school pride’ feeling, and camaraderie with fellow Alums. So there’s plenty to the ‘college experience’! But it comes down to, if you want to pay 40 THOUSAND dollars for it (more for major universities)… that you simply don’t have!  So you will have to take out a loan to pay for this 4-year experience. Which means paying $500-$1000 a month for years to come, after you graduate (IF you do — only 50% finish within 6 years).(By the way, if you wanted to ‘hack the college experience’ many of these things you can experience anyway, without actually attending, e.g. go walk thru a college campus once a week, sneak into lectures, go to the parties, tailgates & football games, wear the gear… even LIVE on campus! I had a friend named Grant who did this! He got his own apartment on campus and actually FAKED going to the school! He actually told us he was enrolled lmao. Some do this! But don’t be a liar like him, tell everyone the truth — you are hacking the college experience with out the debt & exams! So, an alternative middle-ground might be…  Work a job near a college, get your own apartment, or share one with someone (ideally another side-hustler), even students, while working a digital side-hustle nights & weekends, and stack $$$ — not only will you have more $$ to spend than most college kids, BUT, you can still go to house parties & clubs & meet college girls & tailgate at football games & beer pong & get wasted & do stupid shit!  Simply tell everyone that you weren’t ready to, or couldn’t afford to take on college loan debt!  Because it’s the truth. Maybe you do this for 2 years. Then, when you have enough $$ saved (shoot for 10k+, can be done in 2 years) and/or are ready to take your side-hustle to full-time, blast off to Chiang Mai or another tropical place around the world, work remotely, and be able to party any night of the week you want, and meet international girls from countries all around the world, and meet plenty local foreign girls who will love you, and make friends and get wasted with like-minded travelers and entrepreneurs that you will surely meet.  So now, by what would be your Junior year in College, you are getting the ‘party & meeting girls’ experience (= college experience?) with likeminded people instead of ‘safe’ minded people, and you’ve achieved your initial goal of being a digital nomad years sooner than if you went to a 4 year University… Oh, you don’t have 40k+ in debt:)

What about the Military?

A young high school grad messaged me thanking me for my Amsterdam videos, and told me he was going to join the Military after he travels for the Summer. So I thought I’d go on record with my thoughts on joining the Military – and I’ll be straight with you. Now there may be positive aspects and life results for some people who join, depending on their life situation.  Like to learn discipline, structure, how to follow orders, etc… my opinion is not about Military Life per se, which obviously is very rigid and structured, ‘you are like a number’, one guy said in a YouTube video talking about his experience… So yes, it may teach good life lessons for some people, that translate into post-military success. (However, it can play both ways, as a guys says in this video, it can also make you a dick) But my point of view is coming from the Philosophy of the Military, and what it stands for. Now again, there are some positive aspects of the Military, like humanitarian aid around the world, disaster relief, and defending the country from actual attacks.  So while defending and protecting and providing disaster relief is great, it’s the offensive game plan that is immoral.  Anyone who knows a good amount about the world knows that the American Military is part of a grander system to expand the business/influence/power of the American Empire, and the corporations/institutions/governments/conglomerates/families/banks that profit from more power and control resources. Anyway, that’s a whole wormhole you can go down yourself on YouTube… but it comes down to this – the Military KILLS people. Innocent people.  Plain and simple. And this, most agree, is simply immoral. So if you are a student of Philosophy, you simply cannot support this. It’s supporting ‘legal murder’ of people all around the world. It’s not a secret, it’s common knowledge that the US drone program just blows up buildings that it suspects has ‘insurgents’ inside in the Middle East. Thus families and kids get blown up. Murdered. But legally? It’s a cluster-fuck.

“I wanna change the world by helping others… I think the special forces have the best chance of changing the world against terrorism because you will be taking out the higher up people and shutting down their evil operations…”

This is what he texted me. I get it… on the surface. But when you look deeper, at the bigger picture of the global chess board… What if I told you that this ‘War on Terrorism’ that we’ve seen come into the global consciousness since 9/11, was actually created by the US, just like the ‘War on Drugs’ in the 90’s, in order to start a military presence in the Middle East, thus spreading its tentacles, to start changing things, destroying to build back up how they see fit, especially the banking system, political system, and oil system. Yeah, shit’s deep. But it’s real! It’s common knowledge on YouTube, even in mainstream media, that the US is just after the oil and political power. This is what empires always do throughout history… expand!So, in summary, it’s deeper than ‘taking out some high up terrorists’… this is what the Military WANTS you to think. That you are fighting the ‘evil bad guys’, like Osama or something.  But the truth is, it’s just the false trophy that they use to #1 recruit soldiers and motivate them, and #2 as something to get the US public behind, so there’s an actual ‘Enemy’ to put our finders on – which is actually just the excuse for the military to be there in the first place. This ALWAYS happens in history. The Empire creates an enemy for the public to rally around, as an excuse for them to go expand and do whatever it takes… kill innocent people. Aka… War. In summary again, War is immoral, so if you agree, you cannot support the military.  “But I will wanna do 8-12 years in total so when I leave I’ll still be relatively young.”Now I can understand why some guys might wanna do the 20 years to get the lifetime pension income afterwards, but just to spend your 20’s in the military… I’d say you will miss out on tons of other amazing experiences in your 20’s. And with the ability to have a laptop-based career nowadays, you can travel and live anywhere in the world while working your career – and experience more than ever before was possible. Anyway, I think you got my take guys! <img draggable=” /> What are your thoughts / tips / experiences?PS. Here’s my Military playlist where I’ll add videos about this topic as I see them –


  • CJ September 10, 2018

    Another Ambitionist 136: This is a much better piece that actually holds value. It is much more constructed and gets stright to the point. These are real world alternatives for recent high school graduates who do not understand their options. Well done. I am looking to start my photography business wich is combining my passion (feels like it could possibly be a passion) with my currier. I Lao hope to travel the world and impact people though whatever it is I choose to to. But I will never know unless I try. One step at a time. Hence this is the time to take risks, *Calculated Risks*. It’s cool chatting with you. Great work on the blog!

    • rileygbennett September 12, 2018

      That’s awesome dude! Have u looked into any online courses on how to turn photography into a business? Are you in high school or? What’s your story and situation? Would be interesting to hear updates from you as you progress, as a case study.

  • Devan Nguyen September 26, 2018

    I think I’m going to get a sales jobs, save up a butt ton of money then buy some courses (Your FBA course and Jubrils Marketing course) when I’m 20 with a lot of cash to invest and take it from there. Thanks, knowledge bro! A little scary taking this road less traveled while all my friends are partying hard in Uni/College in Canada man.

    • rileygbennett February 9, 2019

      yooo that sounds like a good plan to me! congrats on taking the road less traveled! yes its SCARY! but even more scary is the thought of having regrets in the future that you didnt DO YOU! 🙂

      Cheers bro keep us posted!

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