The Enigma Behind College Dropouts – Conquering College Success

The Enigma Behind College Dropouts – Conquering College Success

There are many reasons why students drop out of colleges/universities: there are obvious reasons why some students leave colleges and universities before graduation.

Most students drop out of college because of the academic rigor, academic time demand, poor fit socially, financial problems, family issues, and personal problems. Some of these students lack motivation, lack of a realistic goal, and inadequate support from the institution, poor family support, poor study skills, and poor high school preparation. These are all contributing factors. Studies have shown that African Americans and Latino Americans have a higher of dropout rate and this is attributed to poor family goal orientation and expectations. The dropout rate decreases for families from the middle class income bracket and higher. Also, you have to consider the role that a good role model plays in this situation.

For those minority families that have at least one parent that have attended college and attained a degree (associate degree, bachelor degree), the odds improve for the college bound student to succeed. There are many students who succeed in attaining a college degree even though they came from a disadvantage background. As an experienced guidance counselor, I have seen many students from disadvantage background achieve success in life through pure hard work and dedication.

There have been many studies done on the issue of college dropouts: conquering college success

Many studies have been done on the retention of students in colleges/universities and all of these studies have focused on the institutions’ efforts to retaining their students. These studies have focused on money and time management. The cost of tuition and the cost of housing can be a problem or an obstacle that some students from low-income families find difficult to overcome. These students from low-income families sometime have to juggle a part-time job, 5 classes along with their social life can become overwhelming.

Many times, these students will create bills that will force them to choose between finishing college and working to maintain their meager lifestyle.

Students from the middle class income or higher usually don’t have to deal with this dilemma. Those students that enter college right after high school will most likely complete their college degree. About 59 percent of college students did attain their college degree in one of the studies that was done in 2008 and some of these students took up to 6 years to finish. Students who entered college at 20 years of age or older had much lower completion rate (around 40 percent). For the students who attended community colleges, their rate of success was much lower and in many cases it was due to being poorly prepared for college. Some students that do dropout of college will return to finish their degree but the percentage is very low.

These studies have failed to mention one important piece in the success of a college student: conquering self-discipline

The reasons mentioned above about why most college students drop out of college and will continue to dropout are legitimate and valid. I totally agree with the studies that have been done with one huge exception, which is the student’s self-discipline. Without strong self-discipline you will not achieve any of your goals in life. Some individuals are born with great self-discipline and others are born with very little self-discipline. Strong self-discipline is evident in those students that can maintain good grades, play sports and are involved in various school activities. With these students, the parents don’t have to remind them to do their homework. They take care of business on their own and they do everything to the best of their ability. They are proud of their accomplishments and they will be very successful in life.

Self-discipline has no income barrier, no color barrier and no class barrier. Those individuals with weak or poor self-discipline can be successful in high school, in college and in life but they will have to strengthen their self-discipline.

I think that the biggest culprit in the dropout rate is lack of self-discipline in the students who enters college. Colleges and universities are doing their best to retain their students with all of the support and guidance that they provide. I have always told my students that in order to succeed in college and in life, one has to have a goal, commit to succeed, be discipline enough to manage their time efficiently to achieve their goal. Strong self-discipline determines how well you will manage your time and your life. If you stop and think about it, self-discipline plays a role in everything that you do every day of your life.

Self-discipline is involved in every little thing that we do from our relationship with friends, family, girlfriend/boyfriend, what we eat, how much we exercise, how much we drink, how much we weigh etc. etc. etc.

Self-discipline is the key to success in anything that we do in life and it will determine how well we live our life. Good luck and God Bless!

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By Leonel R. DaRosa, M. Ed., Guidance Counselor

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