Top 5 Reasons Students Drop Out of College



There are tons of reasons why people are unable to finish college. For example, money, family commitments, and a change in career choice.  However, it’s getting more important to have a degree in something in order to be competitive in today’s job market. If students are able to figure out why they might be tempted to drop out of college, they may be able to prevent the situation before it becomes an all-or-nothing decision.

1. Money

One of the biggest reasons students drop out of college is an issue with finances. College is very expensive and can be overwhelming for a young person attempting to pay for it on their own. There will be some cases in which the money simply isn’t there but it’s also possible for students to look for alternatives before the situation becomes dire.

Solution:  Consider applying for financial aid, scholarships, or obtaining a part time job on campus. Many universities will offer students reduced tuition if they are only able to study part time and can prove that they work 20 or more hours per week on average.

2. Uncertainty

Many students drop out because they feel uncertain about what they will do with their education. Many students get to the point where they have to choose a major field of study and don’t know where to go from there. If finances are in place, students should definitely stay enrolled and study something.

Solution: Students who are unsure of their skill sets should consider a degree that can provide them several options upon graduation. Degrees in fields such as business, communications, and English, for example, allow students the opportunity to work in several different fields and broaden their job search.

3. Academic probation

Academic probation is another common issue that causes students to drop out. The majority of universities only allow students to be on academic probation for one or two semesters before kicking them out. It can be tempting to just throw in the towel and drop out altogether but there are often other solutions.

Solution: Many universities have tutoring centers that can provide extra help for free or students can locate a private educational consultant.  Additionally, if students are struggling with just one or two classes, it would be better to drop those classes and stay enrolled in the other courses. This can buy students a semester to figure out what they’re going to do. In many cases students don’t have to only take Calculus 103, for example, to fulfill a math requirement and may end up doing much better in Geometry 305.

4. Personal circumstances

In some cases, personal or family circumstances make it difficult to be a full time student. Although dropping out will be a reality for some, there are many alternatives to stopping altogether. It’s important to speak with an academic advisor before making the final decision.

Solution: Some universities will allow students to study part time, others allow students to go on an emergency leave and re-enroll the next semester, and some will allow students to take a medical leave if necessary. Students have even studied remotely during unusual circumstances communicating with professors via email and Skype while caring for a family member or attending to their own health.

5. Lack of interest

Unfortunately, some students drop out of school simply due to lack of interest. If this is the case the student might not be in the right program or they may not be at the right school.

Solution:  It’s a good idea to speak with an academic and career advisor before dropping out altogether. In some cases the advisor can help students choose classes that will better suit their interests and get them to a point where they can graduate with a degree. If necessary, they can also help the students with the transfer process so they can attend a university that better fits their specific interests or talents.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student.

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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