Dropping Out

When life comes at you faster than you’re ready for, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to deal with it all. Dropping out of school might feel like the only way to cope. Or maybe you just hate being in school. You aren’t getting good grades, and you feel more comfortable and important at a job or hobby outside of the classroom.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone — but unfortunately, many teens underestimate the importance of their education until it’s too late. In reality, the odds of success are stacked against those with no diploma. High school dropouts have a higher chance of:

  • Being unemployed

  • Earning less money

  • Receiving public help

  • Having kids at younger ages

  • Being single parents

Career options are limited if you drop out.  For example, many high school dropouts become food service workers.  For the male population, 2 in 3 high school dropouts are employed, while only 1 in 3 female dropouts are employed.

Normally, dropouts:

  • Didn’t like school in general or the school they were attending.

  • Were failing, getting poor grades, or couldn’t keep up with schoolwork.

  • Didn’t get along with teachers and/or students.

  • Had disciplinary problems, were suspended, or expelled.

  • Didn’t feel safe in school.

  • Got a job, had a family to support, or had trouble managing both school and work.

  • Got married, got pregnant, or became a parent.

  • Had a drug or alcohol problem.

If you are struggling in school and need help, speak to your counselor or teacher, or contact your local Safe Place program for help.  Many schools offer tutoring, after-school programs and other forms of assistance.  Find out what’s available at your school, and most importantly: don’t give up!

Websites to Visit

Check out these websites to get help on your homework:


High School Dropout Rates (Source: Child Trends DataBank):

  • Among youth ages 16 to 24, Hispanics account for 40% of all high school dropouts in 2004, but 17% of the total U.S. youth population.

  • Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to drop out of high school.

  • In 2004, 7% of non-Hispanic whites ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not completed high school, compared with 12% of blacks and 24% of Hispanics.

  • Asian youth had a dropout rate of 4% in 2004, the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups.

  • High school dropouts are more likely than high school completers to be unemployed.

  • A high school diploma leads to higher income and occupational status.

  • Many youth who drop out of high school eventually earn a diploma or a GED.

  • In 2004, 12% of males ages 16 to 24 were high school dropouts, compared with 9% of females.

  • Although males comprise one-half of the population, they account for 57% of the dropouts in this age group.

  • Young adults with low education and skill levels are more likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance.

  • High school dropouts are likely to stay on public assistance longer than those with at least a high school degree.

  • High school dropouts are more likely to become involved in crime.

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