Highschool can be a terrifying experience for some students, leaving them feeling drained, self-conscious, and unsure if their future – and that’s at the best of times!
While some students thrive in highschool, and look back at the experience as some of their fondest memories, there are still plenty of students who have a negative experience.
Sometimes, that negative experience is due to things like waking up early, not wanting to do homework, not wanting to work their after school job, etc – but for others, it can be much more serious and difficult struggles that they’re dealing with.
Before we go any further into exploring the reasons why students drop out of highschool, it’s important to note that you never know what someone is going through. Whether it’s a popular kid who seems to have everything, but is just putting on a brave face while dealing with a crisis in their personal life, or the shy kid in the corner who doesn’t speak up much because they’ve been belittled their entire lives at home. These struggles don’t give anyone an excuse to treat anyone else badly, but understanding what some people are going through can help you be more empathetic towards them, which can make their time in school a little bit easier, and sometimes that’s the difference that it takes between staying the course or dropping out.
Our goal is NOT to shame anyone for dropping out, it’s to help you understand why this happens.
Everyone has their own reasons for dropping out, and it’s usually a combination of different things. Here are some of the reasons that students will cite for dropping out of highschool. We’re not here to say which of these are good reasons, which of these are bad reasons, that’s not really our judgement to make on the surface because everyone has different things that they’re struggling with, and sometimes those struggles are enough to prevent someone from being able to stay in school, and it’s hard to quantify when that’s “valid” or when a student should keep pushing, even if they’re in an awful situation.
Obviously, it’s ideal to finish highschool, but dropping out doesn’t mean that someone will never go back. It’s not the end of the road, it’s just an adjustment to the current situation.
What to Do After Highschool if you Drop Out?
Dropping out doesn’t mean that you have no future, but it does usually mean that it’ll be a tougher road. Highschool education helps keep the doors open for better jobs and opportunities, but it’s hard to see the big picture sometimes when you’re struggling in the moment. Even if you get the best jobs you can get as a high school dropout, and land some jobs for highschool dropouts that pay really well, it’s still a tougher road and even those jobs might be harder to get.
Here Are Some Reasons Why Students Dropout of Highschool:
Failing Grades: Sometimes, a student will drop a course or drop out because their grades are poor, and they want to quit the course before those bad grades become finalized. Usually, this just results in dropping a course or program, rather than dropping out completely.
Trouble at Home: Success in school is aided greatly by a stable environment at home. If someone has a lot of stuff going on in their personal life, it can make it really tough to graduate. If they’re having to care for loved ones, having to work to cover the bills each month, or just have a lot of friction at home, all of this takes away energy and focus from studies. They might be losing sleep and falling behind in school, and if home life is tough – some students don’t know where else to reach out for help.
Bullying and Other Social Issues: If a student feels unsafe at school, for example if they are a victim of bullying and they aren’t getting help with it from the school or other authorities, that can make it feel like downright torture to go into class each day. If a student has to face ridicule, embarrassment, harassment and abuse every day at school, and they’ve already tried to deal with it reaching out to administration, but a “zero-tolerance” policy puts the victim at risk of being the one who gets in trouble if they defend themselves, this creates a really tough situation.
Mental Health Struggles: Anxiety and depression can tie into many other issues on this list, not to mention conditions like ADHD that make it really difficult to focus in a classroom setting. Everyone learns differently, and schools aren’t optimized to serve every type of student. Aside from anxiety and depress, there are many other mental health problems that some students are dealing with,
Addiction Problems: Mental health, bullying, troubles at home… this can lead to a student feeling helpless, and looking to substances or other forms of addiction to distract themselves from what they’re dealing with.
You’ll probably notice that a lot of these reasons that students drop out go hand in hand with other ones, for example a substance abuse problem may lead to falling grades, or may have been amplified by problems at home, mental health issues, etc.
Remember, in the mind of a teenager, it’s hard to put things into perspective sometimes. Once you finish school and move on in life, a lot of highschool stuff can feel kind of petty and insignificant, but those who face severe challenges in highschool can end up with PTSD and a lot of baggage to work through later in life.
Finishing highschool opens the doors to a lot more opportunities for you in life, so even if you don’t do it on schedule, it’s still something to work towards when life is a bit more stable. You can always go back, you can always finish up a GED, and that’s never a bad goal to have. Just because there are some famous high school dropouts, that’s not the norm at all.
Other Reasons Students dropout of Highschool?
If you’re a student who is thinking of dropping out, or has dropped out already, and your reason for doing so wasn’t listed above – we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment a share your story, it can be totally anonymous. Hearing how things are going for you, or how you’ve dealt with it, or how things are going now could be helpful to someone else who is dealing with similar things.