Why Do Students Dropout of High School?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Students drop out of high school for different reasons. Teachers, parents, and education authorities need to understand these reasons if they are serious about keeping children in school. The whole concept of high school dropout is often more complicated than it seems, and efforts to reduce it must include tackling it from its causes to be successful. To help, this article provides a detailed look into why students drop out of high school. We’ll also review the effects of dropping out of school, as well as students at risk of dropping out. But before then, let’s understand what dropping out of high schools generally means.

What Does a Dropout Student Mean?What Does a Dropout Student Mean?

Dropping out means leaving high school, college, university, or any other group for any reason. The reasons for dropping out of school can range from practical reasons to necessity or disillusionment with the system from which the individual leaves.

The individual leaving school is called a dropout student or a school dropout. The concept became popular in the early 1960s when universal secondary school attendance became a norm. During this time, educators, educational researchers, and concerned policy makers began to study the possible reasons behind leaving schools before graduation. While the dropout state around the world is pretty shocking, they don’t have to represent your story. There are several steps you can take now to set yourself up to complete your education without issues. The key to preparing is knowing the potential reasons people drop out and setting up concrete action plans to help you mitigate such situations when they come. Throughout this article, we’ll be discussing points that can help you avoid becoming a high school dropout.

What are the Dropout Rates of High School Students?

What are the Dropout Rates of High School Students?

This section covers the dropout rates of high school students. Bear in mind that for this indicator, high school dropouts are defined as individuals between the ages of 16 to 24 who are not currently enrolled in school and have not completed high school or obtained a GED at any point. Overall, there has been a decline in the proportion of young adults that are dropped out of high school. The rate has stopped from 15% in the 1970s to 6% as of 2016.

We’ve also seen a steady decrease in racial and ethnic gaps over the last decade, although statistics show that Hispanic youths are still more likely to drop out of high school than children of other major ethnicity and races. Available statistics also show a decline in the dropout rate among foreign-born youths from 29% in 2000 to 10% in 2016.

The United States, which used to have some of the highest graduation rates among developed countries, has sunk to 22nd out of 27 developed countries. This means that despite the United States’ perceived success, it seems evident that most other developed countries are doing better.

Who are at Risk of Dropping Out of High School?

Who are at Risk of Dropping Out of High School?

Studying dropout rates in high school and what influences them can be quite difficult—especially considering that different factors motivate people differently to attend school. Factors like parental involvement, the value placed on education, and self-determination can all affect students’ ability to complete their high school education. However, before discussing these factors, it’s essential to realize that some people are naturally disadvantaged and at higher risk of dropping out of high school than others. Here, let’s review some of the categories of students at risk of dropping out of high school.

Physically Disabled People

Despite more being done by schools and education authorities around the world to make schooling easier for physically disabled students, we still see a high likelihood of them dropping out. Perhaps, the biggest reason for this trend is the probability of segregation and abuse from other students. Apart from that, many physically disabled students feel bad when they can’t complete basic tasks that others complete. To help this category of people, authorities around the world are building special schools for physically disabled students. These schools are often stocked with facilities that will make learning and other extracurricular activities easier. Additionally, they’ll feel comfortable learning around other students with similar conditions as theirs.

Students With Learning Disability

Although often overlooked, learning disabilities can be a great cause for dropping out of school. We all know that it takes some effort to earn good grades. However, students with learning disabilities have to work even harder to do well in school. One study conducted by the National Center for Learning Disability found that students with learning and attention issues were three times more likely to drop out of high school than the average student. Learning disabilities make it difficult for students to pay attention in class, making it almost impossible to focus on tasks. Parents and school authorities must realize that learning needs vary from student to student, and flexible learning environments may help such students succeed.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Although there are often special programs targeting this class of children in most developed countries around the world, statistics still rank them high among likely school dropouts. While education authorities may provide free or subsidized education for vulnerable children in several countries, they mostly fail to provide for other needs. Their inability to match up with their peers will, in the long run, discourage them and make them lose interest in school. One good way to prevent this is by setting up special schemes to investigate and meet every need of such children.

What are the Reasons for School Dropouts?

What are the Reasons for School Dropouts?

Different learners and students drop out of high school for various reasons. Some may have problems that are overwhelming them at home, while others feel too far behind academically. Whatever it is, relevant authorities need to understand possible reasons why students drop out from school to develop policies that will help them stay in school. Some of the reasons why students drop out of high school include:

  • Academic issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Family obligations
  • Mental health issues
  • Financial difficulties

Each of these reasons affects students differently, and educators must understand them in the context that it affects their students to mitigate them.

How Does Dropping Out of School Affect Your Life?

How Does Dropping Out of School Affect Your Life?

The numerous high school dropout stories we hear today is a cause for concern for parents, schools, and educational authorities. First, educational authorities have to realize that many high school dropouts withdraw from school for personal and social reasons. Therefore, an excellent place to start when planning solutions to school dropout is by planning to educate high school students on the adverse effects of dropping out of school. High school students are typically young, naive, and prone to bowing to peer pressure. However, with the right education targeted at students at risk of dropping out, you can expect the rate of high school dropouts to reduce drastically. Here are some of the negative effects of dropping out of high school that every student must know.

Dropping Out of High School Makes You More Prone to Becoming an Illiterate

Available statistics show that most high school dropouts withdraw from school in their early grades before literacy is established. Dropping out at an earlier grade makes it more challenging to return to formal education when a student has grown older, causing them to lapse to illiteracy. In addition to that, dropout students often find education pretty costly when deciding to return for formal education in the long run. This can also be discouraging, forcing them to remain in perpetual illiteracy.

Dropping Out Can Make You a Social Problem

Dropping out of high school at an early age reduces your chances of getting employment in the long-run. Of course, this means that you are potentially adding to the list of unemployed people in your state. Many studies equate the problem of dropping out of high school with the loss of potential human resources. While it is true that the knowledge and skills acquired in your few years of schooling will help you as a dropout, you still can’t compare with people that are fully educated and can’t stand their competition in the labor market. Additionally, there have been reports of how high school dropouts pioneer social unrest in many countries. Therefore, dropping out of high school does not only put you at risk of unemployment, but it also makes you susceptible to joining others to commit social vices.

Leaves You Without Any Concrete Plan

It is quickly becoming a norm for dropouts to go into society without any concrete plans for survival. Of course, not having a concrete plan for survival ultimately leads to unemployment or underemployment. Dropping out puts you in a position where you’ll prefer occupations within easy reach. This is why fewer dropouts opt for scientific careers when asked about hypothetical occupational choice. Dropouts often settle for jobs that show that they’ve not benefited much from their two to three years in school. Additionally, you’ll find that people in this category tend to change employers frequently.

Living in Perpetual Self Blame

Even though not all cases of dropping out of high school are a direct fault of the student, most students tend to live the rest of their lives blaming themselves for dropping out of school. Hence, considering themselves as failures and losers in the long-run. This is not something you’ll want for yourself. With adequate schooling comes aspirations and high expectations. However, dropping out of school can kill these aspirations and expectations, forcing you to settle for less.

How Can We Prevent High School Students from Dropping Out of School?

How Can We Prevent High School Students from Dropping Out of School?

After recognizing the numerous issues facing students at risk of dropping out, the inevitable question becomes, “what strategies can be implemented to keep them in school?” Frankly, keeping students in school should involve combined efforts from the parents, teachers, school authorities, and the students themselves. That said, here are concrete steps that can be taken to keep students in school throughout their high school education.

Parent-Teachers Partnership

It’s an all-too-familiar story: Parents’ involvement in certain responsibilities tends to reduce as children get older and become more independent. But the role change shouldn’t affect their ongoing engagements – from regular communication with school teachers to remaining familiar with the child’s schedules. Every parent must realize that they play a vital role in seeing their kids through high school and beyond. Parents and teachers should create a common forum where they can discuss the child’s progress. This way, both parties will know where the child is lagging and work together towards getting the child back on track before it gets too late.

Pay Attention to Warning Signs

Although often overlooked, most dropout students give a series of warning signals long before they eventually drop out. Several factors serve as early warning signs that a student may not graduate successfully from high school. Parents, teachers, and school authorities need to recognize these signs on time and collaborate towards ensuring that the signs do not develop further into risk factors. Armed with these signals, all parties involved must develop plans and strategies that will give risk students a web or increased support and services.

Make Learning Fun and Relevant

It’s not a coincidence that a significant percentage of high school dropouts are people that find school boring and disengaging. To beat this, teachers and education authorities are expected to develop instructions that take students into the broader community while providing opportunities for everybody. Such instructions will help all students connect to education in a deeper and more powerful manner.

Rethink Schedule

The rigorous demands of a job or family responsibilities can be the reasons why students fail to pay adequate attention to their studies. To help beat this, fast-thinking authorities often develop alternatives that will help students adequately combine these responsibilities with school work. Some districts encourage making provisions for weekend and evening classes so that students can have a flexible schedule that enables them to attend school without obstructing their work or other vital responsibilities.

Adopt a Student-Centered Funding Model

Undoubtedly, lack of adequate funding is a significant reason why many risk students drop out of school. Studies show that it costs most to educate students with special needs, often discouraging them from continuing. To help, districts should adopt student-centered funding approaches, adjusting and aligning funding amounts based on students’ demographics and unique needs in each locality. The most significant advantage of flexible funding is its ability to allow schools with more challenging populations to access more resources that they can use to implement special programs where needed.

Wrapping Things Up: Why Do Students Dropout of High School?

That’s it, a detailed review of some of the common reasons why students drop out of high school. Not many students realize the importance of finishing high school. As such, teachers, parents, and all educational stakeholders must come together to help prevent students from dropping out of school. In addition to discussing the main reasons why students drop out of school, this article has also focused on explaining practical steps that you can incorporate to reduce the number of dropouts.

Fortunately, adopting these strategies will not only help to prevent students from dropping out, but it’ll also help them see the need to focus and make better grades. Students with special needs are also targeted to ensure that they get the quality education they deserve.

If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other high school tips here.

> What is a Good Grade in High School?

> What is a Passing Grade in High School?

> What to Expect in High School?

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Perhaps you’re a high school junior or senior considering to take AP Chemistry and are weighing the merits of this challenging yet rewarding course. Known for its rigorous academic demands and significant time investment, AP...

Read More
How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

One common misconception about college is that only students in their teens and early twenties attempt college. Unfortunately, this misconception has stopped many older people from enrolling in college to further their education. But the...

Read More