Should I Drop Out of College? Tips for Dropping Out of College with a Career Plan
Are you wondering if you should drop out of college? You are not alone. Many American students wonder if a college degree is worth it. Many academic institutions pressure students to go on with their education even if they don’t want to. Students face extensive private and federal loans as well as stress and impostor syndrome.
Before answering the question of whether to drop out of college, you should determine what happens when you do. You can still live a luxurious life and be a successful entrepreneur without intense learning. Below is a guide to dropping out of college.
What Happens When You Drop Out of College?
When you drop out of college, you no longer have the responsibility of school, but you do have to enter the real world. If you don’t have a job to fall back on, you may need to rely on your parents for money or get a lower-paying job to make ends meet until you figure out your plan. However, you will get to avoid the cost of college tuition and college enrollment.
If you were a beneficiary of grants or school loans, you will also have to make plans to pay the debt, even if you have dropped out. As for your transcripts, make sure to drop out between semesters so you can avoid lowering your GPA in case you want to re-enroll. You should also make sure you don’t have to pay tuition for a course you’re not taking.
Dropping out of college may give you free time to try your hand at different skills. You can take an opportunity to learn about yourself and how the world works through activities like volunteering, developing a trade, and picking up a hobby. Even though it can be stressful, dropping out of college can positively affect your life.
Dropping Out of College Pros and Cons
The decision of whether to drop out is not an easy one to make. This list of pros and cons will make the decision much simpler. Read below to learn more about the benefits and the consequences of dropping out of college.
Pros of Dropping Out of College
- You get to earn money instead of accumulating debt and student loans from four-year colleges.
- You will have a chance to explore your interests by developing hobbies and trades.
- You no longer have to spend time in a competitive classroom environment.
- You can avoid taking mandatory classes about topics you aren’t passionate about.
- You can still maintain your social circles and have ample time for friends.
Cons of Dropping Out of College
- You might face stigma and judgment from family, friends, and employers.
- You might have issues getting high-paying jobs if you don’t have a degree.
- You may have to rebuild your life and decide what you want to do for your career.
- You might miss out on the college experience and social scene in exchange for full adulthood.
- You will have some college credit but nothing concrete to show for it.
What to Do After Dropping Out of College
To ensure you don’t end up regretting the decision and burning important bridges, there are certain steps you should take before dropping out. These steps can help you create a smoother career path and get back on track.
Step 1: Communicate with Your School
Explain the situation to your professors and college advisors. In many cases, you can get advice from them and maintain your connections even when you drop out. Two-year colleges and four-year universities often have an academic advisor that can help avoid making the wrong decision.
Step 2: Beat the Census Date
If you have decided, make your move before the institution’s census date so that you don’t get charged for the coming semester. You must file all the paperwork required and return it on time. This is an important step because you can avoid tuition and save money for the future. Sometimes, your college credits can also carry over.
Step 3: Take a Gap Year
The decision to leave college permanently is not something you should make lightly. Taking a gap year helps you to figure out if leaving school is the right decision. During the gap year, you can get a job, volunteer, travel, and even seek counseling. Try your hand at different things and figure out what you want in life.
Step 4: Seek Career Counseling
Counseling can help you go back to what you want. You can also draw a plan and come up with short and long-term goals toward whatever it is you want to do next. This can help you get back on track more quickly. Even college graduates need to speak to a school counselor sometimes, especially for a big life decision.
Step 5: Never Say Never
Regardless of why you drop out of college, know that you can always go back and finish your degree or diploma. The time out can help you get your finances together and prepare mentally for college coursework. Many people go back to college after years of working and raising a family and still graduate with honors. You can also take remedial college courses.
Finding a Successful Career after Dropping Out of College
Fundamentally, the path to success is the same whether you graduate college or not. You have to demonstrate skills and competence in your chosen field. That means you must take measures to acquire that competence one way or another. There are many ways to get a job after dropping out, and you can read more about them below.
College may not have been for you for various reasons. Maybe the fee was too much, the hours were overwhelming, and the structure was not ideal. Online education like open courses and online coding bootcamps solves all that. You can find affordable and even free online courses that are self-paced and easy to handle.
The best thing about online courses is that you don’t have to do a full degree if you don’t want to. Instead, take certificate courses to help with your career or business. You will have saved money and still be able to work part-time or focus on your business.
Without a college degree, you will need experience in whatever field you decide to venture into. Interning is a great way to learn under someone else and gain the necessary experience to start your own business or get employed. Luckily, many startups hire people without a degree as long as they can show interest in the field.
The only downside to an internship is that many of them don’t pay, so you will need to rely on guardians or get a part-time job. However, if you are lucky enough to afford a free internship, it can be a valuable experience. You can also try a community college or other educational institution if you have specific career goals.
You can also learn new skills on your own. For many creatives, like comedians and musicians, a college education may not add much value to their careers. Instead, they have new experiences and practice their craft. Working on a creative career will take time, so be ready to work jobs to stay afloat as your dream to make it big pans out.
Over the last two decades, the demand for web developers and other IT jobs has surpassed the supply. Coding bootcamps came as a fast and effective solution for both the students and the industry. As a student, you will learn specific tech skills and programming languages at an intensive pace and get a certificate to show future employers.
If you want to join a trade, you should try to get an apprenticeship. As an apprentice, you will learn specific skills from somebody who has already made it in your industry of choice. Apart from learning the skills, you will also learn other things from them, such as marketing, code of conduct, and how to retain customers.
Is Dropping Out of College Right for You?
Dropping out of college is right for you if you have a plan and you know college is not your best choice. This decision could leave you with enough time to focus on your passion, build a successful business, and find out what you want to do in life.
High school students often have issues deciding on their educational path. This leads to low graduation rates for many people with high school diplomas. A college freshman might not know what they’re getting into. In many cases, dropping out of college is not a bad idea. You can avoid student loan debts, pursue a business idea, or attend to a family commitment.
On the other hand, if you plan to work in the white-collar industry, the statistics are not in your favor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school graduates have higher rates of unemployment compared to college graduates. If you decide to drop out, you need to make sure you have a plan to get a job in the future.
The decision of whether to drop out of college depends on what kind of career aspirations you have and your plan for afterward. Many college dropouts are confident in their decision and go on to find great job opportunities and complete successful careers. If you want to change the path of your life, you should try taking a gap year and dropping out of college.