Routes to take after high school might include a college education, an apprenticeship, employment, travel, volunteering, community college or enlisting in the military. Although college is a popular choice for many students after completing high school, it is by no means essential. Many jobs do not require a degree if the skill is there, and a college degree can always be taken later in life anyway.
One of the best ways to get started in a career is with firsthand trade experience. After graduating high school, young adults can become certified in and knowledgeable about a trade, such as construction, to be able to eventually start their own company.
Alternatively, for those looking for a personally rewarding experience, organizations like Americorps have a range of volunteer programs for 17-24 year olds without a degree. Although the Peace Corps prefer college graduates for their overseas placements, Americorp's programs are varied and exist throughout the United States.
Of course, there is nothing stopping a high school graduate from going overseas independently of a volunteer organization. Traveling is a great way to get a cultural education whilst developing as a person. It is also possible to work along the way, as an au pair, for instance, or in cruise ship positions.
Joining the military is another way to learn about oneself, although a considerably less popular one. Nevertheless, military training can feed into many areas of civilian life.