How to Help Your Student Choose the Right College to Avoid Dropping Out
Students in the U.S drop out of college at an alarming rate. Low finances and student investment are not the only reasons why students drop out of college. Research also shows that students who struggle to develop friendships as well as enter college unsure about their career path are likely to drop out of college. Both of these reasons are closely linked to poor college choices.
Deciding where to attend college is a huge decision. Students often choose a college for all the wrong reasons and end up transferring to a different college or becoming college drop outs. The college setting, demographic and size has an impact on a student’s ability to find community and feel comfortable for the next four years. While making a college choice it is also important to consider if the college gives students the depth of knowledge and training required in his or her chosen career path so students have the opportunity to learn from experts in their field. In other words, your student’s personality and career path should decide which college is right for him or her.
Let’s take a look at the #3 and #4 obstacles that lead to college drop out and how you can make the right college choice.
Reason 3: Unhappy At School
Whether your student is an introvert or extrovert, leaving the comfort of one’s family and established communities can make college a lonely and unhappy place. I spend a lot of time with first time, college-bound students who expend a lot of time and energy worrying. They worry about their ability to find friends, how they will get along with their roommates, and penetrate existing clicks without compromising who they are.
During the first few months away, your student might have the urge to come home frequently. The brain needs 90 days to establish new routines and become familiar with it. It’s when the new becomes comfortable that kids start finding ways to conquer their social insecurities. When you interrupt the 90-day window by visiting your student or allowing them to come home, you extend the time it takes to feel at home in their new environment. Help your student by letting them know that they’re not allowed to come home for a visit until Thanksgiving. Trust me – it’s for the best, you’re not being mean!
Most underestimate the value of looking for colleges that fit your student’s personality needs. Everything matters. The college and class size setting, ethnicity, as well as the colleges’ belief and value system has the potential to impact the emotional well being of your student.
While visiting colleges, inquire and visit groups that provide volunteer and extra-curricular opportunities that mirror your student’s passions. Shared passions and purpose are fast relationship builders.
If church is a regular part of your student’s life, make sure you research churches and visit them when you tour colleges.
Reason 4: Not Sure About Career Path
Many students go into college with their major undeclared, hoping that once in college he or she will gain a better perspective on what they’re designed to do. The pressure to choose causes stress, and often students pick a career that doesn’t reflect their interests, values or personality. This makes learning difficult. If they happen to decide on a career that is a good fit the college may not have the best program which makes it difficult to keep the motivation levels high to enjoy learning.
Commit to helping your student decide on a career path before they look for colleges. Begin meaningful dialogues when they are in high school with the intent of giving them hope and a vision about themselves. Don’t ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up” or “what do you want to major in?” Instead, ask them what their favorite classes have been and why. Ask them how they would design an entire day for themselves if they had the freedom to do so. Where do their natural curiosities lie? What energizes and excites them? When you analyze interests together, you open the door to meaningful conversations about college and self-awareness.
Many schools offer career assessments, but students tend to have a very hard time reading and understanding the results in a way that makes sense to them. A good college career consultant can not only administer a series of meaningful assessments, but can also bring hope and boost confidence by presenting the results in a way that makes sense to your student. The best way to find a career path is to align your student’s natural aptitudes, learning styles, personality traits, values, interests and passions to a career. Find someone who can help you do that –it’s worth the investment to avoid a costly decision in time and money later.
Consider having your student take a gap year if he or she is undecided. Studies show that gap year alums have higher and quicker graduation rates, and perform better in college. A gap year can help kids develop better collaborating and communication skills needed for kids to do well at college.
Drop-out stats provide insights that can help parents take proactive steps so their students not only succeed in college, but also find a fulfilling and satisfying career.
Ready to take the next stop in discovering your best college career path? Contact Kal today.