Counseling for College Students

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Over the years I have enjoyed helping young people who dropped out of college. Just recently one of my previous clients graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Completing a degree can take more time than we can predict and I encourage long-range planning with time, money and job efficiency to optimize work and cost. Perhaps the bits of information on this page will offer strength and encouragement.

GAP YEAR: I wish that more high school graduates planned for a Gap Year or, in the old British vernacular, A Year On the Continent. Adolescent years are meant for exploration and adventure and few responsibilities which can make living expenses minimal. I think a year of travel with a friend or some study abroad adds immeasurably to the development of identity and, therefore, more clarity on goals for the future, which helps prepare for efficient use of money and coursework, as well as appreciation for education focused on reaching greater levels of competency, income and suitable careers.

-In 2010 student loan debt exceeded credit card debt
-But, college graduates earn $19,550 more than high school grads
-Missing: the vocational training available to Europeans in high school for those who don’t need the university track.

Sad statistics about high school dropouts:

88% were passing when they dropped out.
58% dropped out with only two years or less to complete their degrees.
81% recognized the importance of earning a high school diploma.
72% the workforce graduated high school 40 years ago; today: only 41%
74% now admitted that they would stay in school if allowed to do it over.

Studies show five core reasons for dropping out of high school:

1. Not interested in classes
2. Could not catch up from too many missed days
3. Time spent with people not interested in school
4. Too much freedom in personal life
5. Failing school.

Tips for high school students:

1. Show up faithfully to class
2. Spend time with those friends, family, neighbors and mentors who have enthusiasm for the best
3. Take advantage of extracurricular activities while you are in school (at least two)
4. Ask for help when you get stuck or behind – teachers are there to help you get success
5. Warm-hearted support is the number one thing that predicts staying with college to graduation…so get to know adults in your community (friends of your parents, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, bosses, etc.); they will still be there and want to support you when you get lonely, discouraged, scared or stressed. Most of your high school peers are scattered after school and can no longer be there for you.

Current Research on Problems for College Students:

56% graduate from college in six years – takes longer, more expensive.
29% complete 2-year degrees in 3 years.
33% dropped out to support a family – got together too  young and had kids too young.
48% couldn’t afford it – they probably didn’t have mentoring for careful budgeting and planning for more affordable schools over a period of time with a job or scholarships or internships in place.
57% of graduates are women today; it’s the boys who are having more problems.

Reasons for dropping out of college included:

1. Not being prepared for the rigors of academic work;
2. Inability to cope with the competing demands of study
3. Having a spouse and children
4. Needing to have a job.

Tips for college-bound students:

1. Go to community college for your foundation classes then transfer to a four-year college or university
2. Get a gap year – take some time off after graduating from high school for perspective on your goals and preferred coursework
3. Take classes online; they are usually cheaper
4. Find a mentor/advisor/coach to help you stick to your curriculum and goals.

Each student’s story is complex with different needs for assistance but our school systems are carefully designed to foster success. I think that, with consistent, informed and warm-hearted attention, our young ones are meant to find their own ways of success and a good life.

If you have any questions, I am always happy to offer my thoughts.

Best wishes,