In this day and age, the traditional path of four (or more) years of college isn’t a sure thing. Far from it, in fact. About one-third of 18- to 24-year-olds are enrolled in college right now. That means the vast majority of young people choose alternative pathways.

It isn’t hard to see why. Student loan debt is at an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, while the value of a degree is diminishing over time. College tuition has never been higher and has far outpaced inflation during the past several decades.

Even for students who do enroll in college, being on campus is no guarantee of earning a degree. “Only slightly more than 50 percent of American students who enter college leave with a bachelor’s degree,” notes higher-ed expert Jeffrey Selingo in his 2013 book College (Un)bound.

For all these reasons—and more—many young people are choosing alternative pathways to career and life. If that describes your student, the big question is this: Does your family even need to bother creating a homeschool transcript?

In this blog post, we’ll explore some alternative pathways your student might choose—and reasons why you’ll still need a professional homeschool transcript!

1. Trade or vocational school

Around 12.5 million students are enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs—what used to be called “vocational” or “trade” schools. These CTE programs are less-than-four year degrees (including associate degrees, certificates, or professional licenses) finely tuned to specific jobs in the economy.

This type of vocational training is increasingly attractive to young people who want to avoid the debt of traditional college, gain practical workplace skills, and jump into the workforce much quicker.

If your student decides to head in this direction, a strong homeschool transcript is still a must! CTE schools and training programs will need proof of high-school graduation and, in most instances, a transcript demonstrating accomplishments.

For more on CTE, check out our blog post: Could Career and Technical education put you on the stairway to success?

2. Community college

There are more than 1,100 community colleges across the U.S. serving around 13 million students. Applying to community college is much easier than a traditional college. Because most have open enrollment policies—in other words, they can’t turn anyone away—community college is a strong pathway to a higher education credential for millions of Americans.

Here again, you’ll need proof of graduation in the form of a diploma or GED, plus a professional high school transcript, in order to apply.

For more on community colleges, read our blog post: 10 of the best community colleges in the U.S.

3. Military

Your student will need a high school diploma and a strong transcript. Be as detailed and consistent on the transcript as possible—although homeschool students aren’t as discriminated against as frequently as in the past, there is still somewhat of a hurdle to overcome. More here.

4. Heading directly into the workforce

If your student is leaping directly into the workforce, a professional transcript is an essential element to accompany a resume and high-school diploma. It’s a tangible way to demonstrate achievements in school—such as GPA and extracurricular activities—and prove to potential employers that your homeschool curriculum was rigorous.

Wrapping up

In addition to all of these scenarios, remember that even if your student decides to skip the four-year college path for now, that doesn’t mean he or she will always walk that same path. Creating a homeschool transcript now—when records and memories are still fresh—will save headaches later in that situation as well. Good luck!