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Andrea

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I have been working on a research paper for a college course for the past several weeks. The topic is the relatively high college dropout rate in the U.S, which is currently at almost 50%. I took the position that the dropout rate is a serious problem that needs to be addressed so that we can begin to reverse the number of dropouts. According to my research, dropouts are due to a number of causes, including the financial burden of college, lack of student preparation, and insufficient support systems in place for students. It is my contention that everyone in society, not just students and colleges, bears some level of responsibility for the dropout rate being what it is today. Some solutions to reduce dropouts include making college more affordable, utilizing community colleges as an interim step after high school, ensuring high school graduates are academically prepared, encouraging students to take a gap year, and offering multiple levels of on-going support for students. Obtaining a college degree is a worthwhile pursuit and can be a transformative achievement in the life of the student. A college education can be a foundation that future generations can build upon, while it also serves as a form of inspiration for others outside of the graduate’s family unit. As such, it is imperative that more individuals complete the necessary coursework and remain in school.

I am a former college dropout who has returned to college after an extremely lengthy break. At this point, I am very close to graduation and advocate for anyone thinking about returning to school or finishing a degree. I fully understand that a degree is not required in order to achieve professional success, and there are many different paths. I would be interested in feedback on this topic, particularly from those who have a different experience or perspective.
 

Kylon

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Seems like a neat research paper! Thanks for sharing.

I would be curious to look at your sources for the 50% dropout rate too. Could you share those?

For the reasons students are dropping out, I think a lot of what you are saying is accurate. However, I think you may be missing a crucial point, which is many students aren't seeing the ROI. Like, they are finding out their degree is completely worthless and telling their friends to just drop or opt out. Every year more employers drop their degree requirements, because they realize it's a poor indicator of workplace performance and value. Students are graduating with debt and realizing they wasted four years and thousands of dollars learning things that aren't relevant in the real world, that they still have to fight just as hard as the dropout to get a job, and once they get a job, they are basically unprepared and have to learn from scratch...which employers don't love btw.

That's my quick take. :)
 
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I haven't done any research so take this with a grain of salt, but I would say that a big factor for why there are so many dropouts is that way too many people are pressured to go when in reality the student life is just not for everyone. Many high school students have it in their mind that the only path to success is college, and teachers are happy to perpetuate that idea. Then when they get to college they realize it's not worth all the time money and work. Some of them may just not be smart enough, but colleges have such low standards for acceptance because money is money.

You have some good ideas as a solution but I would take some issue with "ensuring high school graduates are academically prepared". I take issue with that because it perpetuates the myth I mentioned. You see, I actually went to a high school where its purpose was to prepare you for college. It's called IDEA and they boast a 100% college acceptance rate. Everything you do there is to help you prepare for college. For example they make you take AP classes and they have councilors that make sure you have everything in order.

I don't think that was good because it caused so many people that shouldn't have gone to college to go to college. I haven't looked at the results (I don't know if they are made public) but from what I hear and see from my class, the dropout rate is abysmal. I am one of those dropouts. It took me three years of jumping from major to major to realize that college wasn't a good path for the life that I wanted. I know I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for their insistence that it was my only path to success.

I think it's tragic that so many people are making the same mistake as me all because of the generally accepted idea that school is inherently good.

I guess my best solution for reducing the dropout rate would be to have less people go college. Have only the people that both want and deserve to go. In order to do that we need to tear down the myth that everyone should go to college. On that note, I'd like to give a spotlight on this video series which attempts to do just that:
 
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Kylon

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I haven't done any research so take this with a grain of salt, but I would say that a big factor for why there are so many dropouts is that way too many people are pressured to go when in reality the student life is just not for everyone. Many high school students have it in their mind that the only path to success is college, and teachers are happy to perpetuate that idea. Then when they get to college they realize it's not worth all the time money and work. Some of them may just not be smart enough, but colleges have such low standards for acceptance because money is money.

You have some good ideas as a solution but I would take some issue with "ensuring high school graduates are academically prepared". I take issue with that because it perpetuates the myth I mentioned. You see, I actually went to a high school where its purpose was to prepare you for college. It's called IDEA and they boast a 100% college acceptance rate. Everything you do there is to help you prepare for college. For example they make you take AP classes and they have councilors that make sure you have everything in order.

I don't think that was good because it caused so many people that shouldn't have gone to college to go to college. I haven't looked at the results (I don't know if they are made public) but from what I hear and see from my class, the dropout rate is abysmal. I am one of those dropouts. It took me three years of jumping from major to major to realize that college wasn't a good path for the life that I wanted. I know I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for their insistence that it was my only path to success.

I think it's tragic that so many people are making the same mistake as me all because of the generally accepted idea that school is inherently good.

I guess my best solution for reducing the dropout rate would be to have less people go college. Have only the people that both want and deserve to go. In order to do that we need to tear down the myth that everyone should go to college. On that note, I'd like to give a spotlight on this video series which attempts to do just that:
LOVE TK!
 
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