The 5 Main Reasons Students Don’t Finish College

About half of all students who start college don’t finish. Roughly one quarter of freshmen drop out before sophomore year. Many reasons for this phenomenon are given, but it boils down to 5 root causes.

1. Immaturity/Fear: If a student has learned to grow and mature, he or she will be more prepared to meet challenges. A great deal of immaturity involves fear. Facing what is perceived as a threat is often an opportunity for growth. When a student is more interested in learning than staying in their comfort zone, these common problems will not affect the student.

2. Lack of Guidance/Support: In most public schools, there is little guidance. In most colleges, such guidance does not exist. It’s a sink or swim environment; if a student doesn’t have direction or even know what their strengths are, they are likely to float around and switch majors many times. This is a large part of the reason that most students don’t finish a 4-year degree within 4 years. This brings discouragement which causes students to drop out.

3. Insufficient Finances: A lack of preparation can cause a student to drop out. It’s often noted that a student who leaves school due to a lack of finances is often embarrassed about other reasons and cite a lack of funds instead.

4. Academic Unpreparedness: There is a great deal of variation in academic demands between secondary schools. Some high schools offer a challenging curriculum which prepares students for the challenges of college. Grade inflation, coupled with many student’s demands for easy “A” courses has shifted standard courses to a less challenging yet more rewarding environment. Students in Honors and AP courses are typically up to college standards especially if those courses offer college credit, but this is not always the case. In Indiana, 39% of standard course high school students and 7% of honors students had to take remedial courses. This problem has been noted in other states.

5. Illness of family member or family issues: This issue, like lack of finances, is often cited when the student actually wants to quit school for one of the previous reasons. Although this issue is impossible to prevent, it doesn’t have to cause the student to stop college altogether. If a student is truly motivated to finish their program, they will find a way to complete it. Online courses are a great solution for someone who is caring for an ill relative.

Help your child develop the traits that will keep them from becoming a dropout.




  1. All said here is true but in the case of our country, Nigeria, bad peers also causes freshmen dropping out of school. The issue of yahoo yahoo has caused many Nigerian students to become drop outs… Once they engage in this act, they tend not to be serious with their studies, thereby causing them to have multiple probations which leads them to be sent out of the school.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.