OPTIONS offers alternatives to college

By Amanda Vinner, Features Editor

Eighteen years is a long time. In that time, students go through twelve grades, four leap years and 567,648,000 seconds, but still not everyone is ready to live in a new place and on his or her own as a young adult. The thought of going to college is not exciting for everyone and so two members of the community have decided to do something about it.

Co-owners Ginny Feldman and Didi Sacks, both longtime educators, recently designed a supportive educational program called OPTIONS: Alternatives to College for the High School Student. The program is geared towards helping high school students explore different paths for their future.

“We provide assistance and guidance to students and parents who are interested in exploring alternatives to the college experience,” Feldman said. “Our clientele includes students who choose not to go directly into college and want to take a year to do something else, or students who have attended college and wish to leave a campus setting for good, as well as students who have graduated from college and need a career direction and plan.”

According to Feldman and Sacks, some students need more time to mature socially and emotionally, while others may feel more comfortable learning in a more hands-on environment that they cannot find in a college setting.

“Certainly many young adults are equipped with the skills and desire to choose a college or university,” Feldman said. “However, sometimes there are those who need an alternative path.

These students and their parents need to understand that choosing an alternative path after high school is okay.”

Senior Caroline Chevat realizes that in today’s society it is important to have higher education in order to find a decent job, but she feels that not everyone needs to follow the same path when it comes to post-high school education.

“Some people want to explore and figure out what they want to do before they commit to college because they don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives,” Chevat said.

The reasons for why young adults may want to find an alternative to college vary, and so do the options for what exactly these students choose to do instead.

“The choices are [plentiful],” Feldman said. “[Students can do] internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, certification programs, vocational trade schools or gap year programs.”
According to Feldman and Sacks, each student is different and needs to find his or her own personalized pathway to ensure a successful future as an independent adult.

“We also assist these young adults in resumé development, application completion, interview prep, etc.,”Feldman said.

According to the OPTIONS mission statement, students today face an increasingly demanding and competitive work force. Feldman and Sacks feel that it is their responsibility to help these young adults find the opportunities that may give them time to mature and develop enough to be successful and ultimately triumph in life.