Here’s What You Should Consider Before and After Dropping Out of College
Have you been thinking of dropping out of college? This is a huge decision that many people struggle with. While there are a lot of benefits to a college degree, there are plenty of reasons why traditional education paths aren’t for everyone. If you’re a motivated person, you won’t need college credit to pursue your life goals or business ideas.
In the following article, you will find a list of things to consider before dropping out, alternative ways of getting an education, and high-paying tech jobs you can get without a college degree. Read below to read more tips if you are considering dropping out of college. The goal is to present you with everything you need to make an informed decision.
College Dropout Rates: How Many People Are Leaving College?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 25 percent of undergraduates dropped out after their first year in 2018. The highest dropout rate is found at for-profit institutions with open admissions, at 45 percent in 2018. These numbers refer to full-time students, and the retention rate and graduation rate are lower for part-time students.
Why Do Students Drop Out of College?
1. Family or Work Commitments
Many students struggle to reach a work-life balance or meet up with the financial responsibilities of attending college and caring for their families at the same time. The rigor of college studies can easily become too much to handle for high school graduates, especially in more demanding programs and schools.
2. Financial Challenges
It’s not news that four-year colleges in the United States are notoriously expensive. If a student’s family can’t afford to put them through, then they might have to work through college. Scholarships can be hard to come by, and the financial burden can grow to be too much for any student. Federal student loans can be too much even for low-income students.
3. Lack of Personalized Attention and Guidance
Getting a high school diploma comes with a lot of structure. Students thrive when they receive guidance from their teachers, parents, and peers. Colleges don’t offer the kind of personalized attention most students are used to from high school. Without that guidance, it’s easy to lose motivation, get frustrated, and drop out.
3 Things to Consider Before Dropping Out of College
If you are trying to decide whether or not to drop out of college, you’ll need to consider a few different factors. In some cases, it can be better to stay and push through so you don’t miss out on the college experience. Below are some things to think about that might help you make up your mind.
1. Consider Reducing Your Workload
Before you drop out of school, consider reducing your workload. College life is stressful, and burnout is common among college students. You need time in your schedule to relax and have a social life. You might want to discuss removing unnecessary credits from your workload or switching to a part-time program with a college counselor.
2. Consider the Financial Commitment
What sort of financial commitments have you already made? If you’ve already borrowed money for college, keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay your student loan debt and federal loans whether you drop out or not. Think about how much you’ve spent so far and if it would be more expensive to abandon ship or continue.
3. Consider Deferring Your Admission
If you already have some college credits, it might be better to put your admission on hold rather than drop out. You could consider gap year programs and work for a few years before coming back. If you’re a college freshman, you might want to get some credits first before dropping out, just in case you decide to come back and complete your college studies.
5 Alternatives for Every College Dropout
Dropping out of college doesn’t mean you have to abandon your education. There are many alternative routes you can take to secure your future career path, like coding bootcamps, apprenticeships, trade schools, and community colleges. If you have an idea of what field you want to work in, there may be a more direct path to reach your career goals.
1. Coding Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are fast-paced and more affordable than a traditional college education. They teach you in-demand skills to work in the tech industry, and they usually include extensive career services. Some of the best coding bootcamps are Flatiron School, General Assembly, Thinkful, Nucamp, Galvanize, and Coding Dojo.
Apprenticeships give you hands-on training in a particular field. You can get paid while you learn a new skill. At the end of your apprenticeship, you might be hired. Even if you aren’t, the experience looks great on your resume. You can pursue higher-paying jobs and even expand your social circles when you try for an apprenticeship.
There are many professional certifications that can give your resume a boost and open up more job opportunities. Some of these exams require degrees and experience, but many don’t. You can take a look at certifications according to your career goals, including cyber security certifications, coding certifications, and digital marketing certifications.
4. Trade School
Trade schools, also known as vocational schools, are a perfect educational path for people who prefer to work with their hands. You will learn job-specific skills in a few months to about two years. These schools are traditionally more affordable than colleges. Some skills you can learn in trade schools include plumbing, electrical work, nursing, and dental hygiene.
If you are not interested in gaining further education after you drop out of college, consider starting a business. Thanks to the Internet, there are several businesses you can start with little capital. A few good examples are dropshipping, affiliate marketing, video blogging, and social media influencing.
5 Tech Jobs that Don’t Require a College Degree
- Median Salary: $99,729
Software engineers are computer experts who use programming languages and frameworks to create software-based applications. You can teach yourself the necessary skills through an online program or by attending a coding bootcamp. High-level software engineers can earn upwards of $130,000 per year.
- Median Salary: $82,901
Systems analysts oversee the information systems of companies. Their job duties arent limited to computers alone as they develop, analyze, troubleshoot, and monitor the entire IT network. If you’re interested in information technology, this is a great career.
- Median Salary: $75,073
- Median Salary: $54,672
Digital marketers use the Internet and social media to promote products or services on behalf of companies. You can learn how to do this through online courses in marketing or social media platforms. If you’re Internet-savvy, you should take a look at the best digital marketing careers.
Junior Data Analyst
- Median Salary: $51,686
A data analyst works to collect, sort, store, secure, and process data on behalf of the organization. Many prospective employers prefer to employ data analysts with college degrees. However, you can secure an entry-level position without a degree. That’s why you should try becoming a junior data analyst.
Should I Drop Out of College FAQ
When you drop out of college, you have to pay back any scholarships or student loans you collected when you began your studies. Some universities offer a grace period, after which you are bound by law to complete those payments.
Yes, there is nothing unusual about dropping out of college. Successful people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were able to make a career after doing so, so it’s not the end of the world.
No, it isn’t always a bad idea to drop out of college. There are many ways to build a successful career without becoming a college graduate, although you should think it through before you make a decision.
When you drop out of college, you can start your professional career early. If you have a concrete plan in mind before you drop out, you can be making money, saving time, and enjoying freedom while doing something you enjoy.