A close friend of mine dropped out of college with one semester left. Not even a semester really. He only had three classes left.
Everybody thought he was crazy to do such a thing. And they’re probably right. He went to Colorado University in Boulder and paid out-of-state tuition. He went to a community college first at least, but still, his last two years at Boulder cost somewhere close to fifty-thousand each.
For some, education is the ladder to success. That is why people raise an eyebrow when they learn of someone dropping out of college, especially during senior year. Surprisingly (or not), the United States Department of Education reported that millions of students left college and university without getting a degree between the academic years of 2014 and 2016.
Why Do Students Drop Out of College?
There are many reasons students choose not to finish college, even if they only have a year or a semester left. Reasons may be personal, financial, societal, or anything in between. What’s important, however, is not to judge a person for dropping out no matter what his reason/s are. Here are some of the most common reasons people are dropping out of college senior year.
Financial issues can be a hindrance when it comes to many things – one of them being school. Though there are various scholarships to apply for, not everybody is eligible for them. Some apply for loans but soon find that the loans do not cover everything.
Students have to spend money on school fees and other miscellaneous expenses but also on their day-to-day spending. The amount of money spent on food, daily transportation, and accommodations also accumulates. It’s hard for students and parents to shoulder all these expenses at once, leaving them no option but to drop out of school.
Additionally, when other responsibilities come suddenly, such as pregnancy or illness within the family, it adds to this financial instability. This also hinders people from achieving their educational goals. Most of them have to deal with the “now” rather than having the luxury of thinking about the future.
Lack of Support
Other students drop out of college due to the lack of support. Everyone needs supportive family and friends to encourage them and to give them the confidence they need to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, if one lacks the support he needs, it can lead to feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Lack of support can also weaken a person’s motivation, no matter how strong it may be.
Stress and Anxiety
There’s no question that the last year of college is one of the busiest and hardest parts of a student’s life. Given that it’s the last year before graduating, there are many requirements and tasks to accomplish. Attendance has become more important than ever, and grades carry a lot of weight. On top of the other strenuous activities, all the strain can put a toll on the student’s psyche. Stress and anxiety may sink in.
Some students, especially those with a proper support system, may have the ability to deal with these issues well. They can keep their mind afloat and have positive coping mechanisms to use when stress and anxiety attack. But what about those who lack support and those struggling to hold up their mental health?
Unfortunately, too much stress and anxiety may lead to a person dropping out of college senior year. While some may only take some time off and go back the next semester or school year, some tend to sit out and never return.
Uncertainty in a chosen degree also leads to many college dropouts. There is excitement when going to college because many high school graduates deem it a different chapter and their introduction to adulthood. However, as they go along with their chosen programs, some students realize that they are not happy.
Some realize that they are meant for something else as they meet new friends and get acquainted with other programs in the school. Some are fortunate enough to realize that they do not belong to their chosen programs as early as the first or second year. However, some realize it too late, which leads to dropping out of college senior year.
Sudden Medical Emergency
Sometimes, the reason for dropping out of college is not within our control. When a sudden medical emergency occurs in the later years of a person’s college life, there is no choice but to let go of their college dreams. Many people find it hard to let go of their education with just a snap of a finger.
However, ongoing health concerns make it hard for them to continue their studies without posing a greater danger to their well-being. For this reason, they drop out of college instead, even when they only have a few more months left to finish their education.
Is Dropping Out of College Senior Year Worth It?
Depending on who you speak with, people have different perceptions and views regarding college dropouts. However, you should not focus on what other people think if you plan to drop out of college. At the end of the day, the final decision will be on you. It is you who has to weigh the pros and cons of dropping out.
Pros of Dropping Out of College
Dropping out of college senior year is a major decision that can affect your life forever. Some may say it’s bad to drop out of college, but those who choose to say goodbye to a college degree and look for college alternatives say that the decision has its benefits too:
Get a Full-Time Job
People who drop out of college due to financial constraints have enough time to apply for a full-time job that can help with their bills and expenses. Without studies, projects, and exams, you have enough time on your hands to get a full-time job. Whether it’s a day job or a night job, you will be able to concentrate on what you have to do without thinking about your next deadline or the quiz you have the following day.
Explore New Interests
Some people find the four walls of the classroom restrictive. So, letting go of their education means more time for them to explore other interests and hobbies. Exploration may lead you to discover new things that you want to focus on. If your main reason for dropping out of college senior year is uncertainty, you will benefit greatly from this advantage.
With enough time, you will be able to reflect on what you want. You can also discover other interests or fields of study. And perhaps, after some self-exploration, you will go back to school and follow through with a program related to what you truly like.
After graduation, you will have a new sense of freedom, but dropping out of college senior year lets you experience that freedom faster. There are no more school rules you have to follow, no more assignments and projects to hand over. You have more freedom to do what you want for yourself.
However, it is important to note that with freedom comes immense responsibility. You are thrust into the adult world of corporate and working life. You might also still have student loan debt that you have acquired during the time you did stay in school.
Set Your Own Goals
Some people find school restrictive since you have to follow a certain curriculum to meet your educational needs. But what if you are not inclined to follow these goals? What if you feel that you are meant to follow a different path? Setting your own goals is one of the advantages of dropping out of college, even during your last school year.
Given that you have already learned the majority of things you need to learn from school, you can already know what you want and know how to get them. Setting your own goals will help you become more mature and responsible in the things you have to do. Such responsibility and commitment will lead you to a more precise path.
Create Your Own Future
Some people drop out of college because they already know what they want. Going to school only hinders them from achieving what they want to become. For example, a person who is already a well-established influencer may choose to forego a college degree. Instead, he wants to focus more on creating various content for his blogs and channels where he already earns a respectable income doing what he was going to school to learn.
In this scenario, going to school may become a hindrance. Instead of thinking of content or better marketing his channel, he spends his time complying with his requirements and studying for his final exams. In this case, dropping out of college is the best option for this person to achieve the future that he wants.
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Cons of Dropping Out of College
Dropping out of college may sound fun and easy given the advantages laid above. Still, there are also some major disadvantages you need to be aware of before making such a significant life altering-decision.
No matter how successful you will be someday, it still boils down to the fact that you do not hold a degree. Yes, that influencer may become famous someday; or may become a multi-millionaire with brand collaborations and all… but that doesn’t change the fact that he does not have any degree to boast of. Whether we like it or not, many people judge others on the level of their educational attainment.
Loans to Pay Back
Dropping out of college even in your last year does not free you from your student loan obligations. You still have to pay the student loans and federal student loans you have used for paying your college tuition fees and other educational expenses.
Even if you can find a full-time job after you drop out of college senior year, the job won’t likely pay as much as it would if you were a college graduate and degree holder. So, you may find yourself struggling to pay back your student loan debt after dropping out of college.
College graduates earn more compared to undergraduates who work regular jobs. Unless you are a celebrity or have a roadmap to a successful future such as a well-to-do business, expect nothing more from being a college dropout.
In the United States, the overall college dropout rate for undergraduate students is a staggering 40 percent, including approximately 30 percent of college freshmen dropping out before they even reach their sophomore year.
Balancing Life & College
People view education differently. Some may choose to become college graduates, while some choose to drop out of college their senior year, even when they are close to graduating.
Regardless of what you choose, you need to think about your decision carefully. You have to have a concrete plan for what you will do once you are out of school or face the many challenges that can come with being a college dropout.
As soon as you drop out of college, the grace period on your student loans begins automatically. If you received any kind of scholarship money or a federal student loan aid, you would have to review your requirements carefully to see what needs to be repaid and when.
Balancing life and college are essential to success as a college student. Staying in college allows you to continue learning and growing while you decide what you want to do with the rest of your life.