There’s a high schooler in our homeschool. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s been altogether too fast. I can remember vividly how quickly my high school years flew by. (I can’t imagine how it felt for my mother.) Early on I wasn’t sure what I would do post-FHS, but I was certain it was involve college. Back then, we didn’t even hear the phrase college alternative. Because if you didn’t go to college, how could you ever succeed in life, right?!
But college isn’t the only choice, is it?
For high school kids, especially now in our age of technology, there are so many great options.
College and work are not the only options.
I’ve been thinking about college alternative options more and more because of my own son.
Recently, I discovered a college alternative that sounds really really amazing.
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It’s called Praxis.
Praxis is an apprenticeship and education program.
Students spend nine months working, learning, and refining their skills to figure out where they should aim their careers.
Immediately, this sounded like a great option and I wanted to learn more about it.
Lucky for me (and you!) I got to interview a participant that went through the Praxis program–and she’s doing amazing things!
I was compensated for my time in exchange for writing an honest review about Praxis.
Meet Diana, the high school student that said NO to college
ME: Hi Diana, let’s start with your high school experience. What did your high school years look like for you?
DIANA: I homeschooled throughout middle school, then went back to high school freshman year. The summer after sophomore year, I dreaded the idea of going back to public school.
I received good grades in high school and was even in NHS, but I felt like I was wasting so much time and energy memorizing phrases and learning topics that weren’t relevant to me.
It was destructive to my motivation. Leaving public high school was a necessary step in taking my education into my own hands. So after sophomore year, I decided to homeschool. From there, I educated myself and worked.
ME: What made you choose Praxis over a traditional 4-year college?
DIANA: Come what would’ve been my Junior year, I started applying to colleges. I decided I was going to get a “head start” on my career. The more colleges I applied to, and the more I considered this possibility, the more I became discouraged. This wasn’t the way to get a “head start.”
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Most 17-year-old’s don’t.
It’s nearly impossible to be sure before actually jumping into the workforce and trying out different responsibilities.
It didn’t make sense to spend 4 years and at least and $40k on a piece of paper unless I absolutely knew what I wanted to do as a career and that a degree was the best option to get there.
This is typically only the case if you want to be a lawyer, doctor, or another profession that legally requires a degree.
You can go to college any day of your life. It doesn’t make sense to make such a big commitment at the young age of 17-18 before we’ve even had much exposure to the real world.
When I found Praxis, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. It was the perfect opportunity to continue directing my own education, be part of a network of like-minded people, learn hands-on, practical skills, and do so without going into debt.
ME: What skills and interests did you have growing up that told you to look into learning more about business after high school?
DIANA: Well, I’ve always been an entrepreneurial-minded individual. I’ve also got natural sales skills. Plus, I wanted to see what different efforts go into running a company to see where I might thrive most.
Working in a startup and getting that exposure was one of the most beneficial and educational experiences of my life.
“You are the director of your own education.”
ME: When you decided to study through Praxis, what was the most challenging part about the apprenticeship?
DIANA: Moving to a new city by myself at 17 was scary. I had spent my entire life up until that point in my hometown of Stockton, MO which has a population of 2,000.
Starting in a position I had no prior experience in was scary. I had only ever been a barista.
Going the nontraditional route was scary. Most of the people in my life thought I was making a bad decision.
But being outside of my comfort zone in every aspect of my life was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve ever had and probably ever will have. Any time you’re outside your comfort zone, you’re growing.
Also, Praxis is a lot harder than college. You are the director of your own education. You don’t have a teacher giving you assignments and giving you a gold star when you accomplish them. Your time and energy is going into reaching your real-life goals and creating tangible deliveries. If you succeed, it’s because you put in the work to succeed. If you fail, it’s on you. This is hard, but you reap the benefits of working towards something meaningful. You have an adviser that provides guidance and keeps you accountable, but this is a mentor/mentee relationship vs. a student/teacher relationship.
ME: Tell us about the process of being a Praxis apprentice. What happens after you sign up?
DIANA: Upon your acceptance, you start the online boot camp which teaches you to very effectively market yourself and market your skills. You go through some online curriculum, build a personal brand, build a website, blog regularly, create a Pitch Deck presentation on your skills/what you have to bring to the table at a company, meet regularly with your Praxis advisor and Praxis class, and more. This prepares you to go above and beyond at your Business Partner, and grow as a young professional.
During the online boot camp, you work closely with the Placement Specialist who gets a good understanding of your goals, skills, the skills you’d like to develop, and your fields of interest. He’ll present opportunities that sound like they can provide a large amount of growth for you. You’ll interview with several opportunities, but you decide whether or not you take a job offer and Praxis works to set up interviews until you decide to take an opportunity.
The employment rate for Praxis graduates is 98%
ME: After you were through with your apprenticeship, walk us through the job placement process.
DIANA: Upon completing your apprenticeship with your Business Partner, there’s a guaranteed full-time job offer. The average starting salary for participants in their first year out of the program is about $55k. The employment rate for all Praxis’s graduates right now is 98%.
ME: What is your current job and where do you see your career taking you in the next five years?
DIANA: At the beginning of this month I began working full-time with Praxis. Alternative education is something I’m passionate about and after seeing how effective Praxis is, it’s something I believe in.
I’m so excited to be a part of the team.
In the next 5 years I plan to continue helping individuals break free from the toxic mindset that they’ve only got one option if they wish to be successful, and to learn that they can direct their own education and career. I plan to do this by helping Praxis reach more individuals, and by growing my personal blog.
ME: We are so lucky to have options after high school completion. There’s four-year colleges, tech schools, choosing to take a Gap Year, and of course apprenticeships like Praxis!
Of course, not everyone is a good candidate for Praxis. In your opinion, which types of high school students would and would not be good candidates for Praxis?
DIANA: If you’re looking to be a teacher, lawyer, doctor, or other profession in which you’re legally required to get a degree, college is your only option at this time.
For any other field, you should consider Praxis.
Praxis is for highly motivated fast-paced individuals who would prefer to jump directly into the workplace and get hands-on experience that out-values a degree.
ME: Thank you so much, Diana! This was extremely helpful and I learned so much about keeping options open with our kids! College isn’t the only answer and I’m so glad that programs like Praxis are out there.
Ready to explore Praxis further? Apply here. And watch the video below for more info.