In the past, questions about college were condensed to a few staples: What should I major in? Which school should I attend? With the work force and higher education intended to prepare us for it changing faster than ever before, young people are raising questions about whether they should go to college at all. And those questions are valid.
You’re likely reading this post because you have been asking that same question: I want to drop out of college. Should I do it?
If you’re asking the question, chances are the answer is “yes,” if we’re going to whittle it down to its briefest form. If you’ve already started thinking about what life looks like out of school, what you would do, how it would feel, and whether college is the right path for you, it signals that you’re craving more than what your current education is giving you.
The question seems loaded, arguably because the college decision is hyped up to be the biggest choice you will make in your life. In reality, your life, as well as your education and career, are more likely to be shaped by a series of small choices rather than one singular, all-encompassing one. So, the question isn’t really about whether to drop out of college. The question is what you will do when you drop out. That’s the difference-maker.
So, let’s look at the details: Two-thirds of college grads struggle to launch their careers, largely because employers are unconvinced an undergraduate education arms students with the soft skills needed to succeed in the workforce. 74% of millennials felt “as though their colleges and universities had failed to fully prepare them for their post-grad careers.” Soft skills are the number-one thing employers think recent grads lack.
What can help solve these issues? Experience--jobs, internships, practice in the real world. Typically, the experiences students don’t always have access to in school. Experience is, not coincidentally, what you gain when you drop out.
While you’re en route to gain experience by dropping out, there are questions worth asking beforehand: Do I have a way of supporting myself? If not, does my family support my decision to drop out? Do I want to work in an extremely regulated field that requires specialized education, like being a doctor? Do you know what areas you’re interested in gaining experience in? What connections could you use, or what individuals could you reach out to, to set those in motion? Do you know what soft skills (like leadership) or specific skill sets (like coding or blogging) that you would like to develop? Do you have an idea of how you’re going to fill your day?
Answering these questions will help you establish a foundation of how to spend your time out of school, which will allow you to feel more confident in your decision to drop out. You can check out more details on crafting your plan out of school here, but before you do, below is a quick list that makes the case for taking the plunge and dropping out:
Even if you drop out, college will always be there. You can decide to return to school.
There are skills you need, like managing a bank account or avoiding burn-out, that college won’t teach you.
Internships can be crucial to your future: 60 % of summer interns in certain fields end up with full-time job offers from those organizations.
70% of college students work while attending school, showing a push toward practical, real-world learning that dropping out would offer you.
Students who drop out, even if only temporarily, are seen as “more mature, more self-reliant and independent.”
There are ways to utilize your resources, ideas, and skills outside college.
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “the traditional credential is rapidly losing relevance.”
There are even specific tips to help you land a job without a degree, like mastering the art of the cold email and learning how to articulate your tangible skills.