I am fascinated with why some students graduate from college and others do not. I know that so many times it boils down to the family support, or lack of family support, a student has. Students who are mentored by college graduates never even consider the fact that they won’t graduate. This produces an aura of confidence. Students from these families also have parents who know how to access resources, like tutoring, counseling, financial emergency money, etc. I was blessed to have two parents who were educators, and I don’t remember for one second thinking I might not go to college. I also don’t remember ever thinking, “I’m not sure if I’m going to graduate”
Financial challenges are another reason students don’t graduate. When a college is not affordable, students begin to work long hours. This often causes their grades to suffer. In other instances, they just start liking the money they are making and decide to work full time. Oftentimes, the student wants to stick it out, but parents are in way over their head with insurmountable parent loans; they realize it is not sustainable and they pull the plug.
Some students don’t graduate because they chose the wrong major. Others don’t graduate because they choose the wrong college, a college they either do not like or a college that is just simply a “bad match” for who they are. Some students like their college but the college lacks the support system they need to help them.
Other students don’t graduate because they never really find “a core group of peers” that they like and who like them. They lack that feeling of belonging that allows college to feel like home and not like they are a pariah at a social event where no one wants them to be there.
Some students don’t graduate because they struggle with anxiety and depression. They feel despair. They struggle getting out of bed. This is quite common for very high achievers whose self-esteem is based on the fact that they are straight-As student and that has now been punctured.
Some students have learning differences that have been undiagnosed, or they have not learned how to manage their unique learning styles. Many times they were in much smaller environments in high school and never fully adjust to size of college and the self-initiative that college requires.
Some students don’t graduate because they lack the maturity to live away from home. They lack the discipline to “just say no” to all of the social activity and opportunity and temptation that comes at them. These students don’t lack a sense of belonging; they’re too social and they have their priorities misplaced.
In this “Staying in and Graduating” section we are going to do a deeper dive into all of these reasons and many other reasons that were not mentioned here. After all, the goal is not to go to college but to graduate from college.