Statistics show there is a significant amount of students who enter college and do not attain a degree. The overall college dropout rate in the U.S. is 40% for undergraduates. Of those who drop out, 28% of them drop out before they become sophomores.
Your college-bound student should prepare for obstacles and you can help. Share this article with them and encourage them to take it to heart.
What can be done to assure that you don’t become one of those dropout statistics?
1. Research colleges and majors before applying.
It’s just plain smart to do the research and know why and where you want to go to college. Refine your list of choices to include the colleges that offer the academic program that suits your interests and the college setting and faculty that you feel most comfortable with and could see yourself flourishing in that environment.
2. Study the cost of attendance and know your financial aid options.
Before you choose a college, make sure you can pay for it and that you’re comfortable with repaying any loans you secure to finance it. Verify that your scholarships will be available for the course of your enrollment and what requirements need to be met to keep them. Do some calculations that show you the true cost of attendance using college cost calculators.
3. Find the “perfect fit” college.
If you feel like you fit at the college you are attending, you will be more likely to stay and complete your degree. That perfect fit means that you want to be there AND the college values you and wants you there as well.
4. Be invested in the process.
If college is your goal, you need to be invested in the process. Contribute to the education financially and you will be more likely to stay invested and complete the process. Going just for the sake of going or because you think it’s what you are supposed to do will not keep you there.
5. Resolve roommate issues quickly.
College, like life, will have its own set of obstacles. When you encounter them, get help. Seek advice from a mentor or another student. Get tutoring if you find you’re struggling with your classes. Speak with a professor if you need clarification or assistance on projects. Use your RA (Resident Assistant) to help resolve roommate conflicts.
6. Establish relationships early.
It’s important to forge relationships with other students early. These students will support and motivate you when you struggle or feel overwhelmed. Everyone needs support away from home and this group of people will be your family while on campus. Do not, under any circumstances, isolate yourself from others.
7. Take advantage of campus resources for tutoring.
If you start to struggle, help is available. All campuses have tutoring centers where you can find help in just about any subject. Join study groups and use resources online to get the help you need.
8. Make studying a priority.
Time management is the key to making studying a priority. Plan activities around studying, not the other way around. Study first, then have fun. This mindset will keep you from panicking at the last minute because you didn’t have time to complete an assignment.
9. Get to know your professors.
Students shouldn’t be afraid to develop a relationship both in and out of the classroom. Office hours are your sbest friend. During office hours, students can get to know the professor and receive one-on-one guidance and advice. Professors remember who shows an interest in their class and who merely occupies a seat.
10. Attend class.
Class attendance in college is different than in high school. Many professors don’t even take attendance. They expect the students to attend class. It’s easy to skip, especially since parents aren’t around to keep you accountable. Missing class can mean you miss an assignment or key class notes and participation. It also leaves a negative impression if the professor notices you aren’t committed enough to attend his or her lecture and can affect your final grade.
11. Avoid “over” partying.
College should be fun, but in moderation. Partying every night (along with drinking) makes it hard to study, attend class the next day and can lead to all sorts of risky behavior. Socializing is part of the college culture, but too much and too often can destroy your GPA and lead to negative consequences.
12. Persevere when obstacles come.
Every new student feels overwhelmed. You may get sick away from home. You will most definitely feel homesick at some point. But don’t make any rash decisions. Communicate with your peers and your parents. Chances are the feelings will pass and you will be glad you stuck it out. Obstacles will come, but that’s all part of the college experience. Learning how to overcome is part of being an adult.