A large percentage of the world’s best universities are located in the US. Cutting edge research happens, a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees are awarded, patents are filed, students from all over the world come to study and work, huge amounts of money is invested in research and development, and innovative ideas germinate here in the US. The world is moving from a manufacturing-based to a knowledge-based economy. The manufacturing jobs have already moved to China and, in all probability, are not coming back. Data shows that the higher the education level, the higher is the income, and lower is the unemployment rate.
So why does the US have the best universities but also the highest dropout rates?
There are several reasons:
- Huge expenses: College has become too expensive while the income in real terms has stagnated or even gone down. This is the most common reason for students dropping out of colleges. The colleges are increasing the tuition and living expenses, mainly because they can. They don’t follow the laws of Economics 101 – the demand is more, supply is more, but the price is not going down.
- Work-study balance: For many students who work to support their college education or family, balancing work with studies doesn’t work out well.
- Lack of academic preparedness: Students who are graduating high school are not academically prepared to handle the rigors of college. The alleged failure of public education system and dropout rates is another cause of concern.
- Unable to handle the stress: College education is hard. There is too much reading, writing, group work, and thinking. And too many extra-curricular activities. Less time-on-task leads to poor grades, which further leads to low self-esteem and even less studying.
- Mismatch with the major: Some students major in subjects that they are not interested in, and they realize this fact too late.
- Atmosphere shock: Leaving home and residing in a college dorm is too shocking for some students who are not able to cope with this change.
- Social misfit: Leaving school friends and making new friends in college is too difficult for some students. The loneliness is difficult to overcome.
- Health problems: Bad health, life is difficult.
- Mental/emotional issues: It could happen because of any number of reasons.
What can we do to help at-risk students stay with the education system and not drop out?
Colleges Are Failing in Graduation Rates
High College Dropout Rate Threatens U.S. Growth
College Completion: Who graduates from college, who doesn’t, and why it matters
College Dropouts: 10 Reasons Why Students Quit School