Balancing work and school has always been a challenge. So much so, that a new study by a nonpartisan nonprofit research group called Public Agenda titled, “With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them,” found that 71% of the young adults surveyed who had quit college stated work as a factor in their decision. The Chronicle of Higher Education cites these findings:
1. The top reason the dropouts gave for leaving college was that it was just too hard to support themselves and go to school at the same time.
2. The report also emphasized that colleges need to be aware that only about a quarter of those enrolled in higher education fit the common image of a college student living in a dorm and attending classes full time.
Today the New York Times presented details about the study from Hilary Pennington, a Gates Foundation education official, who said two big factors associated with degree completion were going straight to college after high school and enrolling full time. But, Ms. Pennington added, “Colleges need to be more accountable for making sure their students graduate…If you try to leave a cell phone system, they almost won’t let you leave, and I just wonder if there’s something we need to think about in higher education. We need a system where, if someone is struggling, if professors notice that somebody is missing a lot of classes, if someone doesn’t early register, they immediately go to student-life services, and someone reaches out.” When asked to rate 12 possible changes, the dropouts’ most popular solutions were “allowing part-time students to qualify for financial aid, offering more courses on weekends and evenings, cutting costs and providing child care. The least popular were putting more classes online and making the college application process easier.
With tuition fees rising, employed students will increasingly make up a large part of the higher education student body. Developing effective time management and study skills—starting in high school and even younger—benefits students not only when they get to college, but in the world of work and in their personal life. LifeBound’s book, Majoring in the Rest of Your Life: Career Secrets for College Students, is coming out in its fifth edition this January of 2010. The book, which is designed for college-bound seniors and freshmen in college, reveals insights from other students and recent graduates about what to expect from college and how to land the first professional job. To reserve an advance copy of Majoring in the Rest of Your Life, call toll free 1.877.737.8510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• What can we do at the high school level to help students acquire effective time management and study skills that can help them persist with their educational goals?
• How can we ensure that every community college adopts a student success program for their incoming freshmen?
• What else can we do to make college more adaptable to the realities of working students?
The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 9, 2009
Why Do Students Drop Out? Because They Must Work at Jobs Too
By Elyse Ashburn
Many college students have bills that mom and dad don’t pay. They have groceries to buy, kids to take care of, and cars to keep running. And they drop out because they have to work—more than any other reason, according to the results of a national survey of young adults that was released today.
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