Why are college dropout rates so high?

The is no denying how much the people who make hiring decisions demand a college education. It's for this reason, that so many people register for classes at a college or university in an attempt to earn a diploma in their preferred field of study. For some, the challenge can often become too much to handle and they are forced to drop out before completing their goals.

The issue of students quitting on their degree is a certainly a growing one. The overall rate of college dropouts has surprisingly increased in recent years, and although it's a conversation that many did not want to have, it's one that they should.

A number of reports conducted now show that there are multiple reasons why students struggle to earn a degree, resulting in putting their studies on hold or quitting school altogether. The statistics are backed by lots of precise data.

A chart that I want to focus on (see above), states that the majority of students drop out of college due to financial pressure and the least number of dropouts state that the issue is due to mental or emotional problems. In trying to better understand the problems that some struggling college students face, we decided to dive deep into each area of concern, and to consider ways that we can improve on such problem areas.

College Drop Reason #1 - Financial Pressure

While there are many college graduates who are in debt, looking to get the most money out of their college diploma, some can't even afford to finish school. First, there is an overall cost of college itself which can run on average $24,000 per semester for a private school and nearly $10,000 per semester for a public school. For those fortunate enough to get financial aid, the money due can often be offset until after graduation allowing the student to delay dealing with the financial burden until after they earn their diploma. For others, getting financial aid is not a reality since factors including their parent's income may prevent them from getting such aid. While many argue this is fair, some will say that not all parents provide their children with financial support and those who don't, even when they have the means to, put their children at a disadvantage.

The cost of attending classes is just a single part of the financial burden that college can cause students. The other issue is that so much time is spent at school and studying, that there is no other time to work a job and bring in an income. Living off a starving student's budget can often become too much for some.

College Drop Reason #2 - Academic Disqualification

Since many colleges have academic standards that they expect their students to maintain, many students who are unable to meet these requirements are disqualified from their school. In some cases, a college may require that a student keep at least a 2.0 GPA (grade point average) during their time there as the bare minimum. When the average is not met, they are often put on probation and if grades still do not improve, they are disqualified.

Students who often find college too difficult to handle due to many of the issues our chart examines, struggle in school and find themselves often failing classes to the point that their GPA suffers. Going into college with the right state of mind about what it will demand and being willing to keep your focus, can often make a huge difference.

College Drop Reason #3 - Poor Social Fit

For many students, college is an entirely new world for them. Take into consideration Samantha Lewis who attended high school in a small Iowa town. After graduating, she received a scholarship from USC in California. The change become too much for her to handle as she found it difficult to fit in with students who lead such a different life from her own upbringing. The same problem could apply from a tried and true urban dweller who finds himself attending a school somewhere in the Midwest.

Although many high school graduates will often attend college locally, others attempt to branch out and try going out of state and the final results can certainly differ. For some though, the inability to socially fit in can become a legitimate problem. It's important to research the community of the school you may wish to attend, to better understand the environment you may be a part of for the next four years or more.

College Drop Reason #4 - Family Support

This also ties back into the points we discussed in reason #1, regarding support of a student's family and financial aid. A lot of times a family may be in a position where it cannot put their child through college. Consider a son who may have grown up on his father's farm, and while his father had plans of his son running the farm someday, his son instead decided to attend college after high school. For the family, that may have caused stress at home due to the finical burden it put on them, and therefore their son lacked the support he needed to finish college and so he had to drop out.

It's more important for people to understand that graduating college takes the efforts of many. Like a career, where one partner may have to stay home in order to support the others career path, the same can be said about pursuing a degree.

College Drop Reason #5 - Health Problems

Health problems can be a real burden. Consider a young woman who begins to attend college before she finds out that she is pregnant. Aside from the financial burden that raising a child, there is also the medical attention she may need during her pregnancy.

Although the college drop out rates for women due to pregnancy are lower than they are in high school, they can still be considered a legitimate burden for some college students.

College Drop Reason #6 - Distance from Home

Like Samantha who we mentioned attended college out of state, sometimes the distance from home becomes too difficult on the student. As we find ourselves in a new environment and are away from our old friends, family and all the things in life that we once found to be comforting, we can feel out of place and isolated. For some, a simple phone call from a family member, a Facebook post from their best friend, a greeting card, or an occasional visit is enough to get by. For others it would heighten their feelings about what they are missing. Many people considering attending a college out of state should take into consideration the pros and cons of registering for classes at a school that is far away from home. In some cases, the school may offer many benefits that a local school in their area does not, but that may or may not offset the negatives that being far away from home may cause.

College Drop Reason #7 - Mental/Emotional Issues

Whether it's the financial pressure of paying for it all, a lack of support from those around you, or something much worse, all of the stress and tension can lead to mental and emotional issues. Nearly 90% of college counselors report students coming to them talking about depression, substance abuse and self-harm that they have dealt with since starting school. Understanding your own problems and the root of them can often help reduce them.

Question for you: What do you feel is the top cause for students to drop out of college?

As somebody reading this article who may have had to dropout of school themselves, they may agree with these findings or completely disagree if their reasoning was not one of the seven that we discussed.

For others, the reasons for having to leave college come to a number of problems and not just a single one. In fact, as we discussed in this article, that one issue can often lead to several others. As somebody who would like to see these numbers improve, we'd love to hear from you and get your own feedback by filling out our Twitter poll below.