Retention and Wellness

HigherEd Metrics® research indicates that the number one reason for students dropping out of school is due to unmet financial need.  Of course, there are typical reasons such as transferring to another college or family issues.  But, additional research from Petersons (November 2015), as shown below confirms that the top reasons for students dropping out of school are related to money.

This is no surprise.

To higher education professionals there are signs of stress prior to a student dropping out.  At HigherEd Metrics®, we can identify indicators related to "not having" enough funding such as poor class attendance, worrying, illness and possibly depression.  The health and wellness of students are important to all institutions. Without a good cultural and academic fit, students won't have a positive experience.  Studies have proven that the three pivots for students are fitting in with other students, meeting the academic challenges of the university, and having the funding in place to pay for tuition and educational expenses.

Without having the funding in place, cultural fit and academics become luxuries. HigherEd Metrics ®, through our research and institutional intelligence, can find trends in data that infer progress or indicate that a student is facing challenges.  Within our modules, HigherEd Metrics® tracks student drop factors to predict the propensity for drops so institutions can help students facing challenges and better manage re-enrollment.  Again,  from Petersons, below is their article which shows their research regarding the top reasons why students drop out of college and what they can do to avoid the pitfalls.

1.  School costs too much

One of the biggest reasons that students drop out of college is because of the lack of funds to keep going. Many students take out school loans, but that isn’t always enough. Between the costs of classes, books, rent, and just trying to survive, students are more and more learning that while worth it,  in the long run, the cost of education is high. Check with your school’s financial aid office and search online for scholarships and help to pay for tuition.

2.  Needed to get a full-time job

This goes along with the cost of education. A lot of students find that they need to get a full-time job in order to pay their bills, which cuts into being able to attend classes. However, a lot of people find that if they can take even one class per semester it will help them to lighten the load and complete their degree. Graduating from college is a long-term commitment, and there is nothing wrong with taking longer if that is what you need to do.

3.  Family issues

Family can be very helpful while going to college, but for a lot of students, family can be a huge stressor and burden on their life. Especially if a family emergency happens, you might have to take time off from school. Keep in mind that professors are generally understanding of student’s situations, so often if you let them know of your situation, you can work out a plan to finish your coursework on your own time. Your teachers want to see you succeed.

4.  Too much stress

Going to college is stressful, there is no doubt about it. If you are just graduating high school, then the amount of coursework mixed with the personal life and new sense of independence will get to you. But, the important part is that you learn how to cope and find ways to study. It is OK to have fun, but passing your classes is essential to your success.

5.  Not sure of major

Many students go to college with their major undeclared, which is completely fine. However, as you get farther along in college, you are going to have to eventually declare a major. Don’t let this stress you out so much that you end up dropping out of college over it. Keep taking classes, meet with your professors and advisors, and find something that you are passionate about.

6.  No need to complete a full degree

A lot of students go to college just to obtain the knowledge they need to succeed, and sometimes you don’t need a full degree to succeed in life. Students who need a little bit of education in order to obtain a leg up in their career can find a lot of resources at college.

7.  Unprepared for the workload

Attributing to their overall stress, students who graduate high school and go straight into college find that the workload is more than they expected. Prepare to spend more time on your classes than you did before, but don’t forget to take some time to relax and recharge your brain too.

8.  Personal emergency

Personal emergencies are stressful enough when you are out of college. If something happens where you aren’t able to attend class and finish your homework, speak with your professors so that you can make plans to complete your coursework.  Then, take tests, and make up the time missed in the classroom. As stated above, teachers want to see you succeed.

9.  The college atmosphere wasn’t the right fit

Some people just don’t mesh well with the traditional college atmosphere. And that is OK. If you consider yourself one of these types of people, consider the other alternatives to traditional education. You might find that an online program is better with for your lifestyle. Or, consider taking classes part-time so that you can work while you go to college.

10.  Too much fun outside of class

Don’t let personal freedom take control of your entire life. It is fine to have fun, meet new people, and enjoy your life in college, just be sure to take time to study so that you can pass your classes.

11. Lack of advising

Lack of advising is often a problem in many colleges. A lot of the problem is students don’t take the time to meet with advisors when they need it the most — don’t let this be you. Meet with your advisors and plan out your goals for college. And if they don’t help you, go to your professors, mentors, parents, friends, and anybody else that will help you reduce the stress of how to obtain your personal and professional goals.

Keep in mind that just because you drop out of college, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back later to finish. More and more students are taking classes part-time or dropping out for a semester and going back later. Graduating college is a very important aspect of being successful, and it is never too late to finish your degree. Time goes by fast, so know that you can finish one class a semester if you have to lighten the load. Keep in mind these top reasons why most college students drop out to help safeguard yourself from not being able to complete your degree.