School Dropout

“Stay in school.” It’s a popular saying, but in much of the world, a large number of students fail to finish high school.

Dropping out of school doesn’t happen overnight. It may start with failing a subject or two, missing days of school, and losing motivation. With classes taught by multiple teachers, it’s easy for a high schooler to get lost in the shuffle, with no one intervening to ensure their success.

Sometimes families rely on their children’s income to survive. Teens who work 20 hours or more a week are at a much-increased risk of dropping out. It’s hard to study when all of your free time is spent working. When a student studies less their performance drops. When their performance drops, they may begin avoiding school. Once you stop participating, it can be easier to simply not return.

While there are many risk factors for dropping out of school, some factors increase the likelihood of dropping out. Lack of parental support, learning disabilities, and lower parental education all make finishing school harder. Students from financially well-off families are much more likely to stay in school and be involved in extracurricular activities and succeed.

Dropping out of school can lead to limited job opportunities, dependence on social services, drug use, unwed pregnancy, and even risks of getting involved in crime and imprisonment. Psychologically, people who drop out of school suffer from low self-image and may struggle with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

Disadvantages don’t have to mean forced failure and dropout. If you are at risk of dropping out, you may be able to take advantage of resources like public libraries, public computers for academic work, or free tutoring from school, the community, or a church. At the same time, examine how you use your free time, whether playing games, watching television, or hanging out with friends. Perhaps most of all, find a mentor, or someone who believes in you.

Research continues to discover new long-term benefits to education. Every additional year of education adds eighteen months to one’s life expectancy. King Solomon wrote, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (Prov. 3:13, 14, NIV).