The Factors Of Students Dropping Out Of College

Education is important but students are dropping out of college each year. Those who dropped out have various reasons such as due to lack of finances, academic and personal problems, and the need to work and provide for family.

It's difficult for some students to get a good education. Dropping out of high school is a big issue as just as dropping out of college. There is about a 40% drop out rate in community colleges after the first year. Through high school, most got away with little to no studying. Now that they are in college, they are unprepared and are surprised by the difficulty of the classes. The students sometimes expect professors to excuse their missing work, attendance, and missed tests. Whereas professors expect students to learn on their own outside of the classroom to make sure they are understanding the assigned tasks for said upcoming exams. If the students don’t, then their grades will suffer. Bad grades usually discourages people and causes them to drop out the class, especially if they don't attempt to get their grades up. This is something that I can personally connect to because when I first started [community] college, I knew it was going to be hard after high school by the amount of warnings my high school teachers said, but I didn't know how hard it was.

There is a lot more freedom when it comes to college, such as the classes you take - how many you can take a semester [part-time or full-time], online, in person, or a mixed hybrid of the two. It's really dependent on the teacher as well. Some teachers are lenient and don't believe in giving out too much work and have the students take their time to get their work time [which can result in a bit of slacking and getting everything done last minute before all assignments are due, or students prefer to get ahead and get as much of the required assignments done before the due dates]. Some are strict in their work but still expect the best out of their students.

With little to no financial support makes it hard for students to pay for college. There are some that struggle with their jobs, are unemployed and have trouble supporting themselves and children if they have any dependents. Students that have a family to support have to put their them first, which is more important than their classes. For example, there are some students that have to take care of struggling and sick family members while attending college. Some have babies and children and they have a job while in school. That will eventually start to become overwhelming for the student where they will start dropping classes and eventually the college all together. Some students don't have the financial support from their parents to pay for college and instead take out loans to cover their tuition and textbook costs. Students will become overwhelmed in debt, take out more debt to cover tuition, textbooks, and sometimes living expenses and dropout before getting buried thousands of dollars of loans. From the article 'Why Do Students Drop Out of College?' by Mark Kantrowitz, he says 'Many students who drop out of college have to work while enrolled in college. They often find it very difficult to support themselves and their families and lack the needed support from parents and student financial aid.' He follows up by saying that “They often find it very difficult to support themselves and their families and go to college at the same time.' The Hechinger Reports' article '3.9 Million Students Dropped Out of College With Debt in 2015 and 2016' says that those who drop out of college is due to student debt. 'They took out loans to go to school, hoping for a better life. But without college degrees, many don't find good jobs to help pay back these loans.'

Adding on to this, another article Characteristics of Early Community College Dropouts by Peter Crosta makes brief mention that says 'Younger dropout students are able to receive financial aid or a Pell Grant award... as older students were less likely to receive federal financial support than traditional-age students.' This may be assumed because students who are older than 24 are considered automatically independent. Independent undergraduate students are eligible for increased un-subsidized Stafford loan instead [Fastweb Team]. A student who has already earned a bachelor's degree or first professional degree is no longer considered an undergraduate student and is ineligible for the Pell Grant. However, such a student is still eligible for federal education loans and work-study [Fastweb Team]. 'Older students face substantial challenges. Compared with younger students, they are more likely to be married working, have children. Older students thus have tighter time and financial constraints' (Crosta, 2013).

Most are working part-time and full time to support themselves, their families and paying down these debts, which at times will lead to missed school hours, homework, no time for studying especially to major exams which can lead to failing grades. Students also engage in part time jobs or work-study. They will eventually realize that they can't handle the college workload and the job at the same time so they usually stop attending college for a short amount of time or have their hours shortened so they can focus on their academics more. I once told myself that I wouldn't personally take out any loans. But, eventually I did. I didn't want to but I need to. Just to only pay for the semester's tuition and textbooks only. It wasn't a large amount. It's not something I'm honestly stressing over as much as other people, but I don't want this student debt to get too high to where I won't be able to pay it off by the time I am done with school. There were definitely times where I had the lack of funds to attend a semester of class or two so I did withdraw and drop my classes for that semester even if I had a small amount of Financial Aid to cover [even though it wasn't enough to pay for my textbooks], but I always made sure to retake that same class I dropped within the next semester. I only work part-time while attending school full-time. I don't have any real family obligations [i.e. dependent children], but I do feel like my current work place can sometimes interfere with my school work, studying, and schedule, even if my classes are currently online.

Students that are far from home in another state for college, tend to miss family, friends and relatives and are most likely to drop out of their current college and enroll in a community college close to home. I live close to campus. I could not imagine living so far away and taking a long commute from home and school and work every day. I mostly rely on public transportation or walking as it's very beneficial to me. But that's also a downside because that alone will give me the excuse of not attending classes because I live so close.

Students will chose colleges and majors that were not a great fit for them. An example would be that students who want to go into the medical and health-care field will struggle through the variety of difficult courses and suddenly realize that it is not something they want to do. It’s important to assist students of all ages to choose the field of study that best suits their abilities and potential. When I first got accepted into community college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I took many regular general education classes, and then random classes just to see what they were like. My very first major I chose was Art. I was a very artistic person back in high school and had kept up with drawing and painting. Of course, I realize Art was something that was not a very valuable degree for me in the future so I eventually switched to Psychology.

I feel like Psychology is a major that people chose because it's, in a way, easy. There's definitely a lot of things that can be done with Psychology but most of those professions require a higher degree that's not an Associate's. But eventually, I changed that too. My current major right now is Accounting. Only because I took the intro class out of interest and I found myself doing pretty well. I took Financial and Managerial, an Intro to Business course that is required for my degree and did well in those classes too. But I feel like I want to change my major again and this only because I think I found something that I've been interested in a long time: Health-care. Both fields are very valuable and it's something I definitely have to choose. I was thinking of just finishing and pushing myself through my Accounting major, graduate, and then return to pursue something in Health-care afterwards.

Another thing that can factor in students from dropping out of college are emergencies that can affect them while they are at college. A death in the family, an unplanned pregnancy or a sudden health problem can happen fast and expectantly. For instance, if a student’s family member has a stroke and is in need for critical care the student will likely dropout of college temporarily to take care of a family member. Or try their best to work around their current situation for classes.

Dropping out is caused by many factors such as lack of interest and financial support and family and work obligations and many others. Students dropping out of college happens every year and it's only increasing. Those who drop out due to whatever their situation eventually do return to college even if it is only a temporary amount of time. These situations can prevent students from staying in college but there are solutions that can assist students with these types of hardships, and could help decrease dropout rates. Some solutions to help decrease the drop out rates are for students to ask for help when needed outside of the classroom with the professor, offer and advise academic resources, and attending sessions with guidance counselors that will offer help and make the student feel needed and supported.

16 December 2021
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