Upload & Sell: Off
You are 16. Do you have an job yet? If not get one in retail sales and get some real life experience in the business world. The best experience will come from working for a "mom and pop" type family business because that's the business model most photographers wind up following: total immersion and commitment, not a M-F 9-5 with a predictable paycheck.
Photography is not the type of profession where you'll find a job in the "help wanted" ads with or without a degree. The most successful photographers build their careers on networking, self-promotion, long hours and low pay in the early years until they get traction via being published or word-of-mouth referrals.
I stress getting a job, any job, in retail because the #1 trait I've observed in every successful photographer and any other successful small business isn't being great at their craft (which is a given) but having natural temperament, talent and love for dealing with people, sales and marketing. They also have what I call "entrepreneurial zeal"; the burning desire to be their own boss and plow their own furrow through life rather than becoming a 9-5 working drone; those boring guys with predictable incomes (banks like that when giving you a car loan or home mortgage) with paid vacations and retirement plans.
Summer is coming. Find a lawn care outfit to work for. Like photography its one of the few businesses anyone can start with no formal education, minimal capital (a lawn mover), marketing moxie, and hard work. Better yet start you own lawn care company and get a taste of reality competing in the business world with all the other guys who stick "Will cut your lawn for $20" flyers in mailboxes and you'll be forced the learn the same lessons that the local community college business class will teach with independent study.
Why lawn care and not free-lance photography over the summer? You have a better chance of actually making money to buy more photo gear by cutting lawns and it will teach you that the photography part is the least important ingredient to success. You'll need to learn how to identify market; who would pay to have their lawns cut vs. doing it themselves, then develop some marketing "hook" that will convince those people you hire you over more experienced crews. Then you'll want to seek word or mouth referrals which will lead to more business by asking "Do you know anyone else that might need yard work you can call for me as a reference?"
If by the end of the summer you have earned enough to replace Dad's lawn mover you wore out and buy that 500mm lens you've been lusting for you will probably be a success as a self-employed photographer. If by the end of the summer the lawn care business has been so successful you have hired 3-4 other guys to cut the lawns and mostly do the sales, marketing and supervision you might decide to keep the lawn care business going and do photography as a sideline. Either way, mom will be impressed and more likely to support your next move.