Why Do So Many Students Drop Out?

Although a lot of students enter college life with excitement, for some of them that hope may wither away over time for numerous reasons which may lead to them dropping out.

Dropping out of college is not something any student envisions at the start. This is a huge decision that can have an effect on anyone’s life. With it being a big decision, it’s also very much not an easy one that a student can just make out of the blue. A lot of thought and reflection is usually behind this move and, while certainly, it depends on each individual situation, no one actually wants to accept failure. However, it’s good to note that for most students who drop out it isn’t considered a failure as much as making the right decision for their own selves. There are so many reasons as to why a student might drop out and naturally there are also many reasons why that decision might not mean that they’ve failed, so to say.


shutterstock 1752957992

The Monetary Fears of Dropping Out

One of the first things that pop up into anyone’s head when the thought of dropping out first appears is the monetary gain long-term. Certainly, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that without a college degree on average adults earn about $30.000 less per year than those who do own a degree. Additionally, there’s also the risk that the already-amounted college debt that a student has accumulated will only make it more difficult to move ahead in life. There is a whole other conversation we could be having about whether certain systems that require teenagers to get into debts of tens of thousands of dollars for an already-uncertain future even if they do graduate is morally right or not, but that’s not this article.

Nevertheless, though, the reality is that nearly one-third of all students in the US drop out during their sophomore year. That’s a statistic that’s worth looking into further. The fact is that the monetary prospect of receiving a degree and then later turning that degree into a comfortable living situation has been sold to the millennial generation forever. Things have changed and not just anyone can buy a house at 21 nowadays. Prices have shot up in all aspects of life while the minimum wage has really not. The pressures put into students to also get a job while studying can alone be enough for some to max out and give up.


shutterstock 741367066
DMITRII SIMAKOV/shutterstock.com

Reasons to Drop Out

It’s not all about financials though as there are so many other reasons why a student might choose to drop out. From everything just becoming too much to other things going on in life that are distracting to the point of not being able to perform well enough in school; there really are unique and countless reasons why such a high number of students give up halfway through.

One of those reasons is if the student is not performing well academically. Perhaps even though they were certain at first that this degree was worth pursuing or that they were knowledgeable enough and motivated enough to go all the way, now those feelings have faded away. This is a common recurrence within the academic world. The grades may not be what they were hoping for, the classes are too difficult to keep up with, or missing out on things that should be easily comprehensible- these are all signs that this degree may just not have been the right one.

Social life is another reason for dropping out. Most students start college hoping that they’re going to meet new friends that maybe will stick around for a long time. Maybe they’re hoping for new experiences and hangouts or parties that the typical college life ideally offers, but ultimately not getting any of it. This can be devastating after a while, and on top of other problems that they may be facing, this can just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

With the coronavirus causing so much death and just general stress and panic everywhere for the past two years especially, sometimes a break is necessary. It can be exhausting to keep up with academic life in the face of a global pandemic. The mental health of students, in particular, has been affected due to social expectations and norms. When you’re 18 and in college, you’re expected to be having fun and socializing. Now though that school has transferred online, and with constant bad news in the media, it can truly become too much. Everyone may need to take a step back, breathe, and reassess their situation. This is why the number of students dropping out grew even more during the pandemic. It makes sense once you think about it but it doesn’t make it any less depressing in the long run.


shutterstock 685407757
4 PM production/shutterstock.com

All things considered though, if you’re considering dropping out it may be good to make sure you have a decent plan for the future. Though even if you don’t, in the end taking care of your mental health should always be the first priority. There’s still time to figure everything out later. Just take it one step at a time, and for the moment if that step includes you dropping out of college, then so be it.


Illustration: igor kisselev/shutterstock.com

You may like this:

MOOCs: The New Way of Learning and Upskilling


Support us!

All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.


paypal smart payment button for simple membership

Share this post

Interested in co-operating with us?

We are open to co-operation from writers and businesses alike. You can reach us on our email at cooperations@youthtimemag.com/magazine@youthtimemag.com and we will get back to you as quick as we can.

Where to next?

The Importance of Student Government in Education

Student government refers to a student-led organization within a school or university that is responsible for representing the interests, concerns, and needs of the student body to school administration and…

The Cuban Embargo is SO Last Century

In February 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba. What is this embargo, and what is the current status of said…