Countercyclical college enrollment is a stylized fact in economics. However, the empirical evidence focuses on countries with highly cyclical outside options. This study investigates the effect of local labor market shocks in a dual education system, where apprenticeships provide a safe outside option. Administrative data on German higher education reveal that lower labor demand at high school graduation decreases first-time college-going. The effect is concentrated at public universities, while more graduates enroll at more vocationally oriented colleges or start an apprenticeship. Recessions can cause a shift in human capital investments towards applied skills, which come with direct remuneration.