Why are so many college students returning home
One of the defining steps in organizing life for children after school is to leave home and apply to college. This path of education is supposed to introduce young people to the world of active social participants and help to establish a successful future based on the academic achievements. However, the number of students, who drop out of college and return home, is distressing.
A typical scenario that illustrates such a situation involves people who are excited to go to college at first and leave it frustrated and disappointed after a year of studying or sooner. A decision to come home may have a variety of explanations. For example, some may say that the focus is placed on parties rather than studying, and academic experience is simply lost. Others indicate that the price is too high, and they cannot afford it. Instead, people find jobs and are determined to get a paycheck more than graduate.
Research is conducted to understand the matter and evaluate the situation. According to the official report issued in 2014, over the past two decades, more than 31 million people, who were accepted to college, left without any certificate or degree. The National Center for Education Statistics estimated that more than 60% of students graduate in six years instead of four. Furthermore, the United States has the highest rate of students, who do not graduate in the modern industrial world. Why is it so? According to studies, there are five main categories of factors that help to comprehend this negative tendency.
#1. It Is Too Expensive
Education is important. However, it has a price which is too much in some cases. Thus, a survey of more than 600 students that dropped out illustrates that the majority of them need a source of income to afford college but also find it difficult to combine work and studies. In fact, approximately 45% of students devote to work more than 20 hours per week. It is a lot of pressure and stress to handle. Eventually, people exhaust themselves and leave college.
A current economic situation in the country contributes to the number of college dropouts. It is estimated that an average family income has increased by 150% in less than three decades. At the same time, college expenses have increased by 400%. This financial discrepancy prevents students from graduating.
Health educators report similar tendencies. Families cannot provide a necessary financial aid. Thus, students have to drop from expensive colleges and take classes at community colleges. Presently, there is a shift from a stereotypical depiction of students that struggle to receive education and attend parties to a real problem of balancing time for studies and hours of work.
#2. It Is not the Time
Sometimes, school graduates do not understand the responsibilities and the needed personal qualities associated with college studies. The academic environment turns out to be a change that they are not ready to accept.
Students may lack educational background to continue their academic ambitions. When such a situation occurs, about 60% of students take remedial classes. However, less than 25% of them graduate from colleges even when a four-year program is extended to eight years. Remedial classes are believed to be a burden for students. Therefore, a number of education plans, for instance, a Tennessee’s SAILS program, incorporate remedial classes into school’s curriculums, so it could be easier to take classes in college.
Often, students are not prepared emotionally. John Duffy, a famous psychologist and a writer, describes this matter based on experience of working with clients, who leave colleges during the first year. The majority of them are boys who cannot deal with an emotional baggage and are overwhelmed with new circumstances, people, and expectations. They get too anxious to go to classes and fail to process information. Such students also drink or smoke marijuana in an effort to cope with stress and frustration. These patterns of behavior have a negative impact on grades and result in dropping out.
According to Duffy, this issue is a reflection of modern times. Parents focus their children’s attention on certain aspects related to college and its importance for the future. These aspects include grades and activities that need to be done in order to be accepted. However, an emotional side of the matter is overlooked and when individuals are exposed to an academic environment, they cannot regulate feelings, lose concentration and an ability to analyze situations.
Students lack skills of time management. It is important for college students to organize time and prioritize activities. Problems begin when people try to do everything at once or spend too much time on minor issues. Students do not know how to manage personal life, academic work, and other matters. Scholars explain that parents are partially responsible for this phenomenon. Parents often try to control children and manage their lives. Even the best intentions to help may have adverse consequences and do not allow children to gain skills of time management. This influence has a negative impact during the process of preparation to college.
It may be suggested letting teenagers deal with things on their own. For example, they should be able to manage all college applications, receive letters of recommendation, and, in case of mistakes, improve them. Such an approach is helpful in building skills and resiliency that are required in college. Moreover, it may also be a good idea to give teens a year (a so-called gap year) to mature, so they would be ready to deal with another academic experience and not lose time later.
#3. Wrong Choice
Children concentrate on getting into college and complete all the necessary tasks to achieve this purpose. However, the choice of college is one of the crucial moments that should be considered prior to other aspects. Unfortunately, school graduates often make a wrong choice when they apply to college. They do not analyze available information about an institution and may be disappointed. Some students enter colleges that are too big for them and create a feeling of being lost rather than focused and determined.
The story of a girl from the University of Santa Barbara may be used to illustrate this point. The student was introduced to a large university where were more than 600 people in the same class. She was overwhelmed by this number and could not establish any relationships. Professors were quick to forget students. Other students seldom met twice. Such crowdedness made her feel unhappy and disoriented. Moreover, it was easy to skip a class without anyone noticing. Later, she fell behind and left college.
The girl went back home. However, she managed to take classes at the community college and transferred to another institution that she carefully chose. Its campus was smaller and arranged in a way that people could meet each other and talk. It was a better fit for the girl’s needs and created a feel-good atmosphere that helped her graduate.
In fact, many students may share this particular experience. Colleges can be too crowded or too small. It is important to pay attention to courses, professors, and opportunities that the college provides in addition to its buildings and other conditions. Details matter.
Nevertheless, students may be limited in their options and choose a college in accordance with their financial capabilities and other practical reasons. These reasons include a suitable location or a schedule that allows students to work. Academic and cultural attributes may be secondary to these elements. Studies show that 6 out of 10 students chose a college for its convenient schedule, two thirds of them focus on a location, and more than 50% look for something affordable.
#4. Lack of Counseling
Education experts emphasize that many students require support during their college experience and even before that. Counseling is an important basis that should be provided in public schools and continue during the first years of college. However, according to the Public Agenda report, teenagers do not receive proper counseling. Moreover, students reported in interviews that they did not feel any support during a meeting with a counselor.
As a result, children who did not receive proper assistance were less likely to choose a college based on its credentials and opportunities to find a job after graduation. Additionally, the vast majority of such students were not prepared for the academic environment and its pressure.
This situation occurs because counseling officers are overloaded at public schools. The optimal ration should be 250 students per counselor. In the real-world terms, many states have higher indicators. For example, in California, the ration is almost 1000 students per counselor, in Arizona, the District of Columbian, and Utah the number is more than 700.
Consequentially, students are not supported as they should be and the process of transition from school to college may be too complicated to deal.
#5. It is not a Part of a Tradition
Presently, many students are children of parents that did not attend college. They face the challenges of the unknown. More than 40% of dropouts come from such families. Thus, the first-generation students are most likely not to graduate.
Some say that the reason is the price. Such families do not have financial opportunities to put a child through college. This theory is believed to be incomplete. According to Diana Adamson, a director of an organization that helps such students, other factors play a significant role.
Generally, parents who did not participate in the academic environment do not know how to prepare their children for its demands. Thus, typical fears and doubts of freshmen are faced with confusion. Parents see that teenagers are not happy in a new place, have many troubles there, and encourage them to come home where it is safe and comfortable.
To resolve this issue of misunderstanding and misleading, non-profit organizations work with families and help them to be supportive. Adamson points out that parents should be informed about the ways to deal with pressure and stress that are associated with a transition. They recommend involving academic counselors or counselor centers. Children should also know that there are other options, and they will probably regret leaving college.
Additionally, the first-generation students may feel inferior to their peers with more sophisticated backgrounds. Support of family and community helps to overcome the feeling of being out of place and adapt faster. Notably, some colleges recognize the issue and ensure that their students receive the needed support via comprehensive programs and counseling.
The first year is crucial. If students have enough support and encouragement to go through the first year, they are expected to graduate and achieve their goals later. Moreover, they establish a new tradition and their children have more chances to graduate from college.
A Story of Going Back
Two years have passed since Miguel dropped out of college. He followed another path and found a job as a carpenter. This position seemed to be a good investment of his time and skills in addition to being financially desirable. It was his plan to build a career in the given area. However, working on the same things every day may be boring. He has his usual routine of cutting wood and remaking details of furniture. Now, Miguel lacks development and prospects. He wants more. Thus, he decided to apply to college again and study economics. Miguel understands that college education provides more opportunities for people to realize their potential and experience the world. A degree is a significant element that helps to achieve different goals.