Help for College Dropout: Finding Support in the AftermathJune 25, 2021
Did you know that almost half of the United States population holds some sort of degree? Currently over 20 million Americans are enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the nation, however roughly 30% of those students will drop out after their first year. In fact, only about 50% of students who start college will end up graduating on time. Why do so many people go to college? Why do we see such a high number of dropouts in our higher education system? Here we will explore the main reasons why so many people drop out of college and how you can support your young adult’s decision to leave school.
Why Go to College?
For the majority of people, life after high school consists of going to college, earning their degree, and finding a job. So, if the end goal is to just find a job, why even go to college? Well, on average it is estimated that college graduates earn more than twice as much annual income than those without a degree. This can be one of the largest incentives for going to college in the first place. However, college can be incredibly expensive with students averaging roughly $30,000 in debt after finishing undergrad. College is a major commitment that many people take on without considering other options because our society tells us it is what we are supposed to do. However, if you or your young adult is not fully prepared for college, they may end up as one of those 50% of students with debt and without a degree. If your young adult is struggling with their college career or trying to figure out an alternative to life after high school, I invite you to explore the many other options and resources for young adults at this time in their lives.
Why Do So Many Young Adults Drop Out of College?
College is a big and important commitment, yet so many people struggle with this transition into adulthood. While you may have a difficult time supporting your young adult’s decision to no longer attend college it is important to understand the reasons as to why they may need to leave college.
College comes with many responsibilities and obligations. Outside of the classroom, many college students take on additional responsibilities including work, clubs, internships, and more. Additionally, many students struggle with the transition into independence and may struggle to form social connections in their campus community. All of these factors can lead to exorbitant amounts of stress that can negatively impact their lives. Other negative impacts associated with the stress of college include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Financial strains
- Loneliness or isolation
- Separation from friends and family back home
- Anxiety or depression
For these reasons, college can have more of a negative impact, rather than positive, on some students. It is important that you understand that college may not be the best fit for your young adult at this time, but that does not mean that they will never be ready for college or that they will not be successful without college.
What to do After Dropping Out of College
So, you may be wondering, what do I do after I drop out of college? Or what does this mean for my young adult? The reality is there are many other paths you or your young adult can take after choosing to leave college.
It is important that your child has a strong support system throughout this big decision making process. If you are looking for ways to help or support your child through this difficult time, the following may be helpful ways you can provide support.
- Create goals. Creating healthy and attainable goals can be a great way to give your child the confidence and momentum they need to continue on with their career. Work together to create some steps to help your young adult to reach their goals.
- Develop a plan. Once your young adult has decided on some goals, it is helpful to create a plan in order to reach these goals. After all, your odds of success improve when you create a plan. Creating a plan helps to give clear direction, prevent scatterbrain, eliminate distractions, and allows you to hold yourself accountable.
- Explore their interests. In order to improve your chances of success it is important that your young adult is exploring career opportunities that are of interest to them. Not only will this improve their chances of success, but it will improve their happiness and overall wellbeing in the workplace. Taking the time to explore some potential opportunities that are of interest to your child may help to get them on the track they want to be on.
- Suggest other training opportunities. Vocational training, apprenticeships, and certifications are all great ways to receive appropriate training for specific jobs without requiring a college degree. This can help to provide them with the instruction they need for their career but can be much more affordable and less overwhelming than typical college life.
- Consider transitional programs. Transitional programs provide a range of postsecondary and training options to students based on their career interests. The main focus of these programs is to help disadvantaged students access traditional baccalaureate-degree programs. This can be a great option for students to discover their career interests or to get back on track with their intended career paths.
Resources and Ways to Support College Dropouts
For some, dropping out of college may seem like the end of the world, or at least the end of their career, but this is in fact not true. There are many resources and opportunities for students who do not finish college and would like to continue on a valuable career path. Some resources or opportunities include:
- School Leaver Programs. School leaver programs can be a great resource for students who need an extra bit of assistance moving on to the next stage in their lives. These programs offer apprenticeships or opportunities to earn qualifications that are relevant to the field they are interested in.
- Internships. Internships are a great way to gain experience in a particular field that does not always require a college degree. This can be a good way to get hands-on experience as opposed to learning in a lecture style atmosphere, which may not be as effective for you.
- Look into Transitional Living Programs. Transitional living programs can be a great option for young adults to develop the skills sets they need to pursue a higher education or career path. These programs allow young adults to explore various passions and interests in the real world while providing a sense of community and belonging, leading individuals to discover what they truly want to do with their lives.
Trails Momentum is Here to Help
Trails Momentum is a therapeutic program designed for young adults ages 18-25 to support their transition to independence and improved self-awareness. This program uses a combination of wilderness therapy, adventure-based therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a strength-based approach in order to help your young adult unlock their full potential. Trails momentum teaches young adults valuable life skills focusing on improving their students’ self-regulation and overall functioning. Trails momentum gives young adults the skills they need to transition into adulthood and live happier, healthier lives with or without pursuing a college career. If you think our program may be beneficial to your young adult or would like to learn more about what we do, please contact us at 877-296-8711.