Education on Hold: Why are Students Dropping Out of College?

The term college dropout is one laden with stigma and judgement. Too many people consider students who are dropping out of college as somehow failing themselves. However, dropping out is more common than people think. A lot of the faces you see and the people you meet in freshman orientation aren’t going to be there before the year ends.

According to college admissions experts, as many as 30 percent of all college freshman drop out in the first year.

But why students are dropping out of college? And now can you tell your parents that you plan on dropping out?

Why are Students Dropping Out of College?

woman sitting by herself
Mental health issues is a leading cause of dropping out of college. Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

It’s important to note that although there are many reasons for students to stop their higher education, you should note that each reason is perfectly valid. Education is a right but so is taking care of your economic and mental health.

Here are some of the most common reasons you may consider dropping out of college.

  1. Tuition Costs

When you get into college, you may find out that understanding your SAT percentiles was not as stressful as scraping up payment for your school. The tuition fees in colleges are the main reason student debt is now spiraling out of control, with the interest on federal loans rising by 1 percent.

Ivy League schools, some of the most prestigious centers of higher education in the country, charge hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. The price of schools that aren’t in this category can seem more affordable but just as unattainable, especially for low-income families. As a result, many students find that they can’t afford to stay in college and have to drop out.

  1. Cost of Living

Unfortunately, college costs don’t end with your tuition. If you are entering college, you may be looking for the best accommodation that’s within your price range. Living spaces, food allowances, the cost of books and assorted expenses can be just as expensive as your tuition fee. Cutting too many corners when it comes to cost of living can be detrimental to yourself.

For example, eating nothing but fast food can be cheap, but it will ruin your body. Not spending money on anything fun can be frugal but you will burn out sooner. If you are struggling with the cost of living, you should consider dropping out of college.

  1. Mental Health Issues

The stress of keeping up grades, managing your personal life and dealing with other concerns can lead to students developing mental health problems. Sometimes mental health problems manifest during college not because of external factors but because of internal struggles. Regardless of the cause, mental health issues are common in college students.

According to a study by the World Health Organization, a third of all college students in the world are living with mental health issues. While you can stay in college while dealing with mental health issues, it can be easier for your recovery and your well-being to focus on healing yourself.

  1. Work Priority

Finally, many less privileged college students often have to balance providing for their families with their studies. A summer job can start as a way to pay your bills but circumstances can make you take it up as a full-time career. When push comes to shove, many students will drop out of college to provide for their loved ones, especially if they are the primary breadwinner.

How Can You Tell Your Parents That You Are Dropping Out of College?

Dropping out of college requires a delicate and civil discussion with your parents. Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

People tend to stigmatize college dropouts, painting them as lazy or not smart enough to make it through college. Because of this defamation, parents can have very negative reactions if tell them you are dropping out. However, you can keep the conversation civil and to the point.

Here is a guide on how you can tell your parents you are dropping out of college in the most effective way possible.

  • Honesty is Key

Don’t lie about why you want to stop your schooling. If you find the classes are too difficult or you are grappling with a mental health problem, you should be honest about it. This will let your parent assess their feelings on your motivation. It also puts the ball in their court, letting them help you through whatever reason you are planning on leaving school.

  • Get into Specifics

Avoid vagueness when it comes to the reason of your decision. Instead of telling them “I don’t feel good”, you should tell them in no uncertain terms why you don’t feel good. Do you feel alone? Are you being bullied? Do you think you have depression? Is the anxiety too much? Being specific with your reasons for dropping out of college helps loop your parents in and assist in coming up with a plan of action.

  • Explain Your Plans

If you have plans for what to do after you drop out, be sure to explain them to your parents. Are you going to stop school permanently or only until you have sorted out your issues? Do you have an employment opportunity you plan on pursuing? How are you going to resume your education if you plan to do so? Showcasing a plan of action lets your parents know that this is not a decision you are taking lightly and gives them the opportunity to assist your goals.

  • Consider the Consequences

Finally, be sure to explain that you have considered and weighed the consequences of dropping out. Make sure to tell them you are aware of the loss of opportunity, time and money your decision entails. Dropping out of college is not a decision one should make lightly and clarifying that you are aware of the consequences conveys the gravity of the situation.

Dropping out of college has been painted negatively for too long. Sometimes it is the best course of action for your family, for your resources and for yourself. Just know that you are not alone and that you can always pursue higher education later on.

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