College is a huge investment in terms of both time and money. No student begins college with the intention of giving up and dropping out. Unfortunately, despite their best intentions, some students drop out of college.
Knowing the most common reasons college students quit school can help you be more aware of the pitfalls and hopefully avoid dropping out of college.
Running Out of Money
To avoid any money problems, come up with a plan before the school year starts. Be realistic about how much money you will spend, and think about what you can do to make money.
You should apply to all forms of financial aid available in order to help you pay for college. File the FAFSA as soon as possible so you can earn federal scholarships, grants, work studies, and loans. Next, be sure to apply to numerous outside scholarships as well—opportunities can be found year-round and for various categories. Only after exhausting all scholarship and grant options should you consider federal student loans. If you’re still in need of monetary assistance after this, pursue a private loan.
Additionally, consider attending community college for the first two years. This can save you thousands of dollars in tuition and make it possible for you to complete your higher education.
Not Prepared for the Responsibility
College is the first time most students live away from their parents. While this newfound freedom is exhilarating, many people just aren’t ready yet. With so many distractions, some students find that they just don’t have time for class—which, of course, should be the priority. Compounding this is the fact that much more is expected out of college students compared to high schoolers.
Professors will not give you multiple chances to turn in your homework if you forget it. Think seriously about whether you are ready to live on your own in addition to taking a full load of classes. Many students are opting to take a year off between their senior year of high school and freshman year of college. This gives them a chance to work and earn money for college while also getting used to the idea of taking on additional responsibilities.
Personal Life Issues
Most students drop out because of problems in their personal life, whether it is a breakup, problems in the family, or some other personal issue such as an accident or mental illness. Although sometimes it is in a student’s best interest to take a break from school, it can often be avoided with early intervention.
Most colleges offer counseling, so if you are feeling overwhelmed or just need to talk to someone, do not hesitate to talk to a counselor. If you get sick or have a family emergency, don’t be afraid to go to your professors. If you are upfront about what is going on, they are likely to support you and work with you so you are able to carry on instead of dropping out.
Getting Lost in the Crowd
Even if you go to a private college, it will likely be much larger than your high school. Some students find that they have trouble keeping up with classes or making friends in such a large group of people.
If you are struggling with your coursework, talk to your professors. They are happy to answer your questions and help you learn the material. Make sure you take advantage of their office hours.
If you want to meet some new people, try joining a club that piques your interest. Other students are trying to make friends as well, so don’t be shy.
College is a challenging but exciting time. Make the most of your time there, and don’t be afraid to use your college’s resources to help you. Most importantly, don’t give up. With some perseverance, you can overcome whatever obstacles come your way to make it to graduation day.
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