Students consider alternatives to college


Photo used with permission of Austin Uhlir

Junior Austin Uhlir poses at the annual JROTC Dining event on January 25, 2019.

Anagha Gummadivalli, Academics Editor

College is an important topic for many students, and plans after leaving High School can be uncertain. Since college is no longer a feasible option financially or physically for some, some students have begun considering alternative post-graduate options. 

“My dad got me interested first,” junior Austin Uhlir said. “He’s in the U.S. Navy and ever since I was little, I wanted to join and be just like him.” 

According to College and Career Center counselor Khristie Greiner, 73% of CHS students go to a four-year college or university and 19% attend a two-year college. The rest go into the military, are employed or continue their education in other areas.

Thanks to specialized school programs, students are able to make informed decisions about their future ahead of time. Academy classes in particular provide an opportunity for students to hone an interest or skill they already possess, allowing them to make a decision about their future with more confidence. 

“Being in ROTC kept my interests alive,” Uhlir said. “It was a lot of training you would get in the military anyway.”

Although some students may not pursue the traditional path that follows graduation, college may still be a future option.

“I do plan to attend college, but that won’t be until I’ve already enlisted,” Uhlir said. “Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you can apply for a commission that allows you to be an officer, which is what I’m aiming for.”

The College and Career Center offers resources for those who have questions or are trying to make a decision about goals after high school. Students can visit here for more information about upcoming events and seminars.

Talk to your counselors,” Grenier said. “Open up and share your fears about the future. No worries, no judgment; we have all been 17 years old once and no one expects you to have answers yet.”

No matter what path a student decides to go, counselors stress the importance of having a plan. The College and Career Center offers college visits through Naviance Student, a comprehensive mobile-friendly website that is used in career and college planning.

If you decide not to go to college right after high school, have the conversation with your parents about living expenses or living with them,” Greiner said. “Will they continue to provide your room and board? If not, what are your options?”

Though this pandemic might have thrown off students and altered their well-crafted plans, the team of counselors at Chantilly is ready to support and aid their decisions. Grenier will hold a senior college workshop on Oct. 26 from 3:00 p.m to 3:45, where current seniors will be able to work on their college applications and have guidance available.

“Life will throw you curveballs, and it happens to all of us,” Greiner said. “But have faith in yourself. We are all unique, we all belong and we all can contribute to society.”