326 - Why College Students Are Dropping Out

Episode: 326

Episode Title: Why College Students Are Dropping Out


If students make purpose the driving goal behind their education, more of them will achieve what they set out to do. Find out more, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 326 show:

Greetings—you’re now in The Perna Syndicate! I’m your host, Mark Perna. Last month at the Education with Purpose: Call to Action, I shared some startling data about how young people are doing in college. Some are thriving—but many are not.


According to educationdata.org, 40% of all college students drop out. This corresponds with research from Georgetown University, estimating that one-third of the nation’s highest-performing high school students fail to obtain a college degree—although nearly all of them attempt it. 


There are many ideas about how we can better support young people in completing their programs. Some say better financial aid, some say on-campus resources, some say more support for students balancing family and work obligations—and all of these may be part of the answer. But I believe the single biggest reason that students don’t complete is because they have no reason to. 


I don’t mean that they don’t care. I mean that they go to college without a clear purpose for why they’re going. College is just the next step that everyone assumes they will take, so they take it. Then it gets hard, or feels pointless, or some other obstacle rears its head. Their reason for being there isn’t strong enough. And they leave.


We need to do a better job counseling our students to define their purpose and the direction they want to take in life. Then, college can fall into place for them as a stepping stone on their journey—rather than a destination in itself that too often leads them to a dead end. 


So what do young people themselves think about how college impacts their career? We’ll talk about that tomorrow on The Perna Syndicate…see you then!

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