Choosing not to pursue a diploma

When students enter college, they may find the academic environment to not be in their plans or decide to return later.

The article “Why Students Drop Out” published by the National Dropout Prevention Center credited reasons for students dropping out to be related to school, family and employment. Various school-related reasons included missing school days, not liking school, not getting along with teachers, suspension and a lack of feeling of belonging.

Despite the rising trend of school completion rates, dropping out of school persists.

Nikolas Scott, a junior communication major, withdrew from the University of Mississippi. He explained his reasons for delaying a college education.

“I left Ole Miss because I wanted to serve my country,” shared Scott. “I did not enjoy the financial burdens of being a college student either. Mostly, I wanted honor, to help in our nation battle against the injustices that have torn our world apart.”

The Office of Institutional Research recorded data on the fall 2017 freshman cohort that showed a 67.3 total retention to fall 2018. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed that 61.1 percent of students who started college in fall 2015 were retained to fall 2016 at their starting institution while 73.4 percent were retained at any U.S. institution.

An interactive tool on the Office of Institutional Research website shows data on student retention, progression and graduation up to the fall 2010 cohort by college, department, major, ethnicity and gender.

Scott clarified a misconception about students who drop out of college.

“The most popular belief is that people who dropped out either failed, or are lazy,” said Scott. “This is wrong. I left the University of Mississippi with a good academic standing, and I have many friends who left school solely because it was too boring for them. Some people just want to get out in the world and start making money, and you do not need a college degree to be successful. Many of the most successful people I know dropped out or were even kicked out of their university.”

According to Scott, students considering dropping out of college should have a plan first.

“Do not just drop out of school and sit on Dad’s couch watching TV all day,” expressed Scott. “If you don’t have at least three solid plans of ways to make money and move up in society, then do not drop out.”

Scott discussed the results of dropping out of college.

“There are so many opportunities out there: trade schools, oil and gas opportunities, service jobs,” said Scott. “Also, don’t expect to live a college student lifestyle in the real world. Monday is not T-shirt night anymore. Now it’s bedtime at nine because you have to work at 7 a.m., and if you don’t show up, you can say bye to your running water.”

While people may find different options work best for them, Scott feels happy about his decision.

“In no way do I regret my decision to leave and join the United States Marine Corps,” shared Scott. “It gave me a different outlook on life and was very humbling for me, which I needed. Never live in regret. Our decisions are what make us grow as people, and if you learn from your experiences, then you should never regret your decisions.”