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The 5 Main Reasons Students Don’t Finish College

About half of all students who start college don’t finish. Roughly one quarter of freshmen drop out before sophomore year. Many reasons for this phenomenon are given, but it boils down to 5 root causes.

1. Immaturity/Fear: If a student has learned to grow and mature, he or she will be more prepared to meet challenges. A great deal of immaturity involves fear. Facing what is perceived as a threat is often an opportunity for growth. When a student is more interested in learning than staying in their comfort zone, these common problems will not affect the student.

  • Party animal: Lack of vision of the future can contribute to a student’s decision to throw away their future. Fear of academic inadequacy can cause many students to “drink the pain away.”
  • Career Prep Academy’s program helps a student identify strengths and skills. A student will be able to map a career path and have a strong vision of the future which will be more desirable than escape.
  • Homesick: New experiences and a new environment can be a shock. If a student has not pushed themselves out of their comfort zone (which they wouldn’t do if they lack maturity), they will have a difficult time developing a coping mechanism for the change. This brings a tendency to stagnate; to dwell on high school accomplishments and happiness. Comparing new acquaintances unfavorably with old friends from home is common among homesick students. Students look at their past with rose-colored glasses and withdraw from their new environment and refuse to learn.
  • Career Prep Academy draws a student out of their comfort zone. Step-by-step guidance on growth techniques don’t just tell students WHAT to do, but also HOW to do it in the most pain-free way possible.
  • Fear of asking for guidance/help: Stuck in “kid mode,” many young people haven’t learned to enter “adult mode.” They aren’t accustomed to speaking to adults as fellow adults. Surrounding themselves only with others their own age, they have often further insulated themselves with slang which remains in a constant state of flux to identify others who aren’t part of their group. They aren’t able to assert themselves; to stand up for their own needs.
  • Career Prep Academy has a Research Interview technique that helps students talk to their teachers about their goals and helps them make the most of their class experience. The method in this exercise helps students get out of “kid mode” and into “adult mode.” This brings the confidence to ask for help when they’re in an unfamiliar situation. Many employers cite the lack of maturity and the inability to ask for help as a common and serious problem with young people in the workplace.
  • Stereotype fear: If a student is a member of a minority (minority race, female, gay, low-income, immigrant)—especially if they are not around others in their group—there is a strong tendency to avoid speaking up in class or joining groups of others outside their minority status. There is also a tendency to avoid actions that could reinforce, or even work against the stereotype.
  • Career Prep Academy’s program will build confidence so that students—regardless of their status—will be comfortable expressing themselves.

2. Lack of Guidance/Support: In most public schools, there is little guidance. In most colleges, such guidance does not exist. It’s a sink or swim environment; if a student doesn’t have direction or even know what their strengths are, they are likely to float around and switch majors many times. This is a large part of the reason that most students don’t finish a 4-year degree within 4 years. This brings discouragement which causes students to drop out.

  • Selecting a major: Although a student usually doesn’t need to select a major until sophomore or junior year, they don’t always stick with their selection because they aren’t certain of several factors:
  • Fit for future career (This includes knowing if they have the ability to do the day-to-day work of the position)
  • Demand for chosen profession (Is demand for the profession growing?)
  • Career Prep Academy’s program includes research which helps a student discover strengths and skills as well as matching them with the demands of a position—and discovering that position’s growth potential.

3. Insufficient Finances: A lack of preparation can cause a student to drop out. It’s often noted that a student who leaves school due to a lack of finances is often embarrassed about other reasons and cite a lack of funds instead.

  • Financial Planners can help financial preparation, but Career Prep Academy’s program of personal growth and personal inventory can help a student create college and scholarship applications that will ensure a better financial aid package. Career Prep Academy’s guidance on financial preparedness helps families work together to prioritize finances

4. Academic Unpreparedness: There is a great deal of variation in academic demands between secondary schools. Some high schools offer a challenging curriculum which prepares students for the challenges of college. Grade inflation, coupled with many student’s demands for easy “A” courses has shifted standard courses to a less challenging yet more rewarding environment. Students in Honors and AP courses are typically up to college standards—especially if those courses offer college credit, but this is not always the case. In Indiana, 39% of standard course high school students and 7% of honors students had to take remedial courses. This problem has been noted in other states.

  • Career Prep Academy’s focus on self-directed learning and striving for excellence is designed to help students in their pursuit of the most challenging academic environment. A focus on the future; knowing that college isn’t the end of learning shows the students a new way of thinking—BEFORE entering college. This helps the student rise to the challenge instead of wasting time (and money) on remedial lessons.

5. Illness of family member or family issues: This issue, like lack of finances, is often cited when the student actually wants to quit school for one of the previous reasons. Although this issue is impossible to prevent, it doesn’t have to cause the student to stop college altogether. If a student is truly motivated to finish their program, they will find a way to complete it. Online courses are a great solution for someone who is caring for an ill relative.

  • Pregnancy: The student may become a parent before their degree is complete. Dropping out of school due to financial issues and the need to care for an unplanned pregnancy/child is unfortunately rather common.
  • Career Prep Academy’s program encourages harmony in families as the burden of motivating the student is shifted from the parent to the student. The student and family will be more inclined to work together to make the completion of a degree a reality. Other family members who see the student’s engagement in preparing for their future would be more likely to step forward to provide assistance in order to help the student achieve their goals. Responsibility is part of the program, therefore reducing the risk of a student engaging in behaviors that would produce an unplanned pregnancy.

Help your child develop the traits that will keep them from becoming a dropout. Call Career Prep Academy at 317-641-4677 for a free consultation.