Should I Drop Out Of College? What You Should Know Beforehand

Staying in college helps you get a degree, which is necessary for improved job options.

You also get more earning potential, self-esteem, and a more meaningful profession.

But I must admit it’s no cakewalk.

So now the question is: should I drop out of college? 

Dropping out of college rather than continuing in it is preferable in some cases and for some folks.

It typically takes two to four years to finish college.

Completing it takes not only time but also costs money.

However, time and financial restraints aren’t the only factors influencing students’ decision to drop out of college.

There is a profusion of others, some of which easily outweigh the benefits of obtaining a degree.

Despite the hardships of higher education, there are various reasons why a student would contemplate staying in college.

Are you conflicted between continuing with higher education and dropping out?

Then continue reading. 

should i drop out of college

Why Would Someone Drop Out Of College? 

First of all, your feelings are entirely valid.

Students quit college for a variety of reasons.

Financial concerns are at the top of the list, particularly among individuals from low-income families. 

Stress, choosing an unsuitable school or field, and conflict with commitments are common reasons for dropping out of college.

Students attend college to take advantage of the numerous benefits that come with it.

Some of the advantages can be obtained while attending a college institution.

These advantages include expanding one’s network and strengthening one’s problem-solving abilities. 

In the same vein, some benefits, such as a college credential and degree, are only available after graduation.

In most cases, this is only what potential employers seek. 

But no one said going to college would be simple.

There are a variety of issues that students may face. 

They can find them not only in the classroom but also on campus.

In many cases, the various challenges can force students to abandon their studies.

Stress is an inescapable aspect of college life.

Up to 80% of college and university students in the United States report feeling anxious at least once a week.

That statistic comes from the American Institute of Stress (AIS).

So too much stress, combined with various internal and external problems, might cause a student to drop out. 

Let’s examine some of the most prevalent reasons why students think about dropping out of college:

Related Reading: Should I Go To College – Let’s Revisit This Myth Here.

1. Not being ready for higher education 

The majority of American colleges and universities now have a test-optional admissions system.

This means that candidates will not be required to provide their SAT or ACT results.

These tests are used to assess a student’s college preparation.

Whether or not tests are required, most schools unwittingly enroll students unprepared for college.

If you go to college unprepared, you will almost certainly receive poor or failing grades in your subjects.

To be honest, higher education isn’t that much more complex than secondary education.

However, college necessitates a distinct mindset and skill set.

Failure to progress while in college or university might have severe consequences.

High school graduates are expected to attend college immediately after graduation. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out for college directly after high school.

Some people might benefit from a gap year, especially if they haven’t decided which institution or program is suitable. 

Beginning college after the age of 20 is always an option.

Just because you’ve received your high school diploma doesn’t imply you’ll be heading to college right now. 

It’s a wise decision to skip further education in the meantime if you feel unprepared deep down. 

Related Reading: Dropping out of College – Read The Full Post Here.

2. Having financial woes 

Having financial woes 

According to statistics, up to 35% of students drop out due to financial stress.

Sure, some schools and universities provide free tuition and fees.

However, the rest of the expenses of attending a two-year or four-year college or university is not covered. 

This indicates that you will have to pay money regardless of where you enroll.

For the academic year 2021-2022, the average cost of tuition and fees at US News ranked universities are:

  • $38,185 for Private Schools 
  • $22,698 for Public Out-of-state Schools 
  • $10,338 for Public In-state Schools 

You can anticipate paying more than the figures presented above.

There are many more costs associated with attending college than just tuition and fees.

A bachelor’s degree in the United States can cost anything from $102,460 to $215,796.

It will all rely on which institution you are picking to enroll in.

Obtaining a full-ride scholarship is the only option to make getting a degree cost-free.

As the name implies, a full-ride scholarship is a monetary award that covers all the costs of attending college.

Tuition, additional fees, textbooks, lodging & board, and even living expenses are all included.

In other words, the purpose of a full-ride scholarship is to keep the cost of college as low as feasible.

Unfortunately, earning a full-ride scholarship is extremely unlikely.

Less than 1% of prospective first-year college students receive it each academic year.

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3. Picking the wrong field of study 

Aside from choosing the incorrect institution, some college students choose the wrong major.

Doing so may lead them to believe that it is better to leave college than stay in it.

Only a minute portion of colleges and universities require students to declare a major before enrolling.

Because of this stress, your application process could be delayed. 

Completing a major that doesn’t suit you can be as unpleasant as attending a school where you don’t fit in.

Because of this uncertainty, you might opt to drop out and pursue something more fulfilling.

Take your time deciding the major you want to pursue.

The majority of colleges and institutions allow students up to two years to make up their minds.

And when selecting a major, avoid selecting one based on one or more of the following factors:

  • Your friends chose it. 
  • Your parents prefer it. 
  • It’s known to make people a lot of money. 
  • You see fictional students taking it in movies and tv shows. 
  • You think you like the idea of it. 
  • It’s a popular choice in your school. 

4. Being in a less than optimal environment 

The difficulty in feeling as if you fit perfectly in a college or university might leave you bored, frustrated, or misled.

It all depends on one’s expectations before starting college.

If you’re dissatisfied with your on-campus experience, you’re inclined to look for happiness elsewhere.

You may decide to drop out of college to pursue other interests.

Or you might think of getting a career in an industry that you’re passionate about or traveling to different cities.

You even want to spend your days playing video games with your buddies. 

If something provides you with more satisfaction than education, there’s a good chance you’ll choose it over obtaining a degree.

This is where choosing the right college or university becomes critical.

You should begin your college search throughout your sophomore year or the beginning of your junior year of high school.

Because you’ll have time to research, making the mistake of enrolling in a school where you won’t fit in becomes unlikely.

Here are some ways to research schools and universities, according to Cornell University:

  • Visit the campus. 
  • Consider factors outside of college rankings. 
  • Talk with alumni and current students. 
  • Zero in on what you want. 
  • Explore the school’s website. 
  • Attend events at the school. 

5. Being committed elsewhere 

Are you an atypical student who is raising children or working part-time or full-time?

If you’re enrolled in a regular college, it’s not unlikely that you’ll consider dropping out.

Some college students are able to devote their entire time and energy to their studies until they receive their diplomas.

Others, however, must divide their resources between school and the things that cause them to be classified as non-traditional students.

If their off-campus responsibilities are just as crucial as those on-campus, one of their priorities is likely to be jeopardized.

That priority could very well be getting that coveted degree. 

Non-traditional students now account for up to 73% of higher education students in the United States.

As a response, more and more colleges are making degrees more available to non-traditional students.

They do it by offering evening classes and online degrees.

Online studies can be completed entirely online or through hybrid courses.

So if you want that degree while working or caring for your kids, it’s still possible to earn one. 

Related Reading: 60 Side Hustles For College Students – Get The Complete List Here.

Let’s Talk Pros and Cons 

Let’s Talk Pros and Cons - should i drop out of college

Being a degree holder is one of the advantages of continuing in education.

Access to better jobs and higher income is one of them.

Dropping out of college offers certain advantages as well. 

Some of them can focus on other jobs or responsibilities while avoiding more financial troubles.

You must attend college until you graduate to obtain your degree.

Unfortunately, college does not come without its challenges, some of which are serious enough to make you consider leaving out.

Would you mind continuing reading before deciding whether to stay or leave?

You’ll find some of the benefits and drawbacks of staying in college and dropping out in the section below.

Before you make up your mind, make sure you weigh these factors against each other.


You get better employment options. 

Most employers automatically assume that those with a college diploma are more job-ready than those without.

Still, don’t make the mistake of thinking that having a college degree means you’ll be able to get better jobs.

But the statistics show the truth.

Folks with bachelor’s degrees earn more per week ($1,281 vs. $749) than those with only a high school diploma.

You earn a degree as quickly as possible. 

Getting through college despite the obstacles permits you to complete your education as quickly as possible.

Dropping out might set you back a few semesters or years.

Not dropping out allows you to earn your degree in the quickest time possible, letting you reap the benefits sooner. 

You get invaluable skills alongside your qualifications. 

College is a considerably larger institution than high school.

It’s there to help you prepare for the vast world of workers.

It prepares you for adulthood by providing you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need to live and survive.


You run the risk of being buried in debt. 

You will have to pay for your schooling before you can get access to the money that college graduates often earn.

Well, you might be an outstanding student who has been awarded a full-ride scholarship by the university you are attending.

Your degree will almost certainly not be free if you’re like the majority.

However, keep in mind that educational debt differs from other types of debt in some ways. 

You invest in yourself and potentially improve your lifetime earnings by attending college.

This is in contrast to a new vehicle loan, which almost never helps you generate money in the future.

I suggest that you consult with your advisor.

It’s probable that your college will provide some financial aid.

You work against yourself if you’re not ready. 

If you are not college-ready, you may still flunk no matter how hard you try to succeed in higher education.

Fortunately, taking a break from education is perfectly acceptable.

Up to 40% of college students consider taking a gap year.

If you are unfulfilled with your initial effort at earning a degree, you have the option of starting over.

Always keep in mind that doing what’s best for you will bring you benefits and, sadly, some drawbacks.

You have less time for other commitments. 

It’s not uncommon for some of your obligations to be jeopardized when juggling college with other commitments and responsibilities.

In your current circumstances, you might have to work or care for children. 

However, choosing non-traditional programs and managing your time well allows you to thrive in all of your responsibilities.

Related Reading: How To Earn Money From Home Without Investment – Click Here To Learn More.

video about going into college debt

What To Consider Before You Decide To Drop Out Of College 

What To Consider Before You Decide To Drop Out Of College

Well, no one can stop you now that you’ve made your decision. That’s alright. 

At the very least, read through the following suggestions about what to do before or after dropping out of college.

1. Decrease your workload. 

Decreasing the number of credit hours you’re taking is one option to consider.

When things get tough, our initial instinct is to give up or believe we’ve made a mistake.

It’s almost as challenging as you’re suffering from imposter syndrome.

However, you can reduce your class load by half and enroll as a part-time student. 

Consider how you’d feel if you had a lighter course load and could concentrate on fewer subjects.

You may not feel as overwhelmed or stuck, and you may be able to save money as a result.

Use that made time to do something that will help you advance.

You can acquire an internship or employment with half the amount of work.

It’s an excellent method to save money, earn money, and regain your wits.

2. Get started on your career without a degree. 

Here’s an interesting fact: only 14% of Google employees have a college diploma.

That was in 2015, and the number continues to rise.

Even without a college diploma, you can now work for huge organizations or cool startups.

You can begin working right now and work your way up before the end of the school year.

An intelligent alternative here is to build a LinkedIn profile and begin networking with people and businesses in your area.

Also, keep in mind that large corporations hire employees who do not have a college diploma.

Many companies are searching for motivated employees to help them succeed.

Companies are beginning to realize that a college diploma does not imply intelligence or an excellent work ethic. 

3. Switch to a lower-cost school. 

Let’s consider the price of a college degree.

Is it still worthwhile to borrow $40,000 for a degree you don’t want?

That is, once again, a personal conversation you must have with yourself. Personally,

I don’t believe that is the case, but is there a way to cut your bills without dropping out?

The most reasonable ideas are never the most dramatic ones.

To finish your degree, you don’t need to take on a pile of student debt.

We sometimes feel compelled to drop out because it is inexcusable to continue wasting money.

Local community colleges and smaller local colleges have offered $100 per credit in the past.

It may take longer, but switching institutions can significantly reduce the cost of obtaining a degree.

Merely knowing that might relieve some of the strain of feeling like college isn’t worth the money.

4. Work a while, then go back to school. 

If folks drop out of college, that doesn’t indicate they’ve lost everything.

You can always return and finish your enrollment if you put it on hold.

Take a few years off to work, acquire experience, accumulate income, and fund your education.

Keep in mind that nothing is permanent.

You have more time to figure out what kind of work you want and begin gaining real-world experience.

Staying in school against your will when you could be more productive in the real world makes no sense.

This isn’t due to a lack of drive on your part.

Taking time off to work can drive you to work like a madman and save a lot of money.

When you’re stuck, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to act swiftly.

5. Don’t think about what other people will say. 

The fear of what others will think makes this decision so frightening.

But don’t mind their opinions.

They aren’t the ones that live your life or pay your bills.

Are you going to remember the people you were scared would think you were a loser when you look back?

Most likely not.

You’ll recall everything you did and reminisce about the wonderful times you had.

The key is to find a solid and viable strategy.

You must be confident in your decision regardless of what others think.

6. Learn skills on your own and launch a business. 

There are barely any requirements to start a business, least of all a business degree. 

What you require is the ability to market your concept to others.

Going out and making sales is one of the simplest methods to start a business.

You can launch a service business while you’re still in school.

And when it becomes too busy, you can devote all of your time to it.

You can convert any ability you have into a profitable business.

It’s one of the most practical ways to get a head start. 

Starting a business may appear intimidating or alien at first.

But take some time to consider what skills you have that you would like to use to make money.

It might not last, but it can undoubtedly become even more profitable. 

7. Consider taking up a certification program. 

Consider taking up a certification- should i drop out of college

In fields where the educational system hasn’t kept up with demand, certification programs exist.

These programs primarily focus on technology, which is fantastic.

That implies some businesses are just interested in knowing if you can fix their issues.

Google has released an IT Support Professional Certificate program that will prepare you for a job in IT.

It only takes eight months to complete. 

What do you think it’ll cost?

For an 8-month period, the cost is $49 each month!

You’ll procure all the skills you need to make at least $50,000 per year with almost no debt.

Also, check out websites like Udacity or Udemy for online courses and mini-degrees.

And don’t worry: you don’t need a college diploma to acquire the skills you’ll need to obtain a solid career.

Related Reading: Why is College Important – Click Here To Learn More.

Final Thoughts 

Nobody said college was going to be easy.

It’s almost inevitable that you’ll run into hurdles while pursuing your degree, which you’ll have to overcome to graduate. 

Some students may endure more difficulties than others.

Some of those difficulties may lead them to consider dropping out of college.

If you’re facing these challenges, remember that every college-related problem has a solution. 

The trick is to focus on the ideal one to help you get the most out of your higher education experience.

Many people nowadays appear to underestimate the worth of a college diploma.

Yes, there are many success stories for people like Zuckerberg, Jobs, and Gates.

However, there are also a lot of failure stories that aren’t discussed.

Dropping out of college should be planned for and discussed with your family.

It’s not a problem that can or should be handled by doing a Google search.

Whatever you decide, remember it’s not the end of the world.

There’s always a chance to succeed in this world with or without a college degree.

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Brooks Conkle Banner Image
Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.