A recent National Student Clearinghouse report shows that almost half of students who enroll in college never complete their degrees. Here we examine the factors that contribute to college dropout — and the steps educators can take to prevent it.
While about 20 million students enroll in American colleges and universities each fall, the number of students who make it across the stage to receive their diplomas is significantly smaller. In fact, The National Student Clearinghouse reported that only 45 percent of college students obtain a degree within 6 years from the first institution they attend.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the complex and interlinked factors that contribute to college dropout, and explore how educators at every grade level can support improved college completion rates.
How K-12 Districts Can Identify At-Risk Populations
The NSC’s breakdown of graduation rates when it comes to age and race outlines the students who are most likely to drop out before completing their degree. The national 6-year college completion rate is 54.8 percent. But while Asian and white students have completion rates nearing 70 percent, the completion rates among Hispanic and black populations are a mere 48.6 percent and 39.5 percent, respectively. Graduation rates are even lower for community college students, part-time students, and non-traditional college age students.
In light of these patterns, it’s arguably never been more important for K-12 school districts to leverage student data to track the progress of various student cohorts — from kindergarten all the way through high school.
- What socioeconomic patterns emerge among struggling students?
- How does performance correlate with cultural backgrounds?
While many districts are already using data to answer these questions and identify at-risk students, additional indicators can be used to evaluate college and career readiness (CCR).
How Colleges and Universities Can Set Students Up to Succeed
Far-reaching, systemic inequities are undoubtedly at play when it comes to the number of college dropouts in the U.S., but a general lack of preparedness can also impact how likely a student is to complete their degree — regardless of their background. According to the U.S. Census and American College Testing Program, of the estimated 18 million students enrolled in college in 2008, nearly 34 percent dropped out in the first year because they were overconfident, under-prepared, and lacked realistic expectations about college.
That means students are graduating from high school, arriving at college, and finding themselves ill-equipped to make the social, emotional, and academic adjustments that college requires. Faced with this reality, college administrators must provide robust academic support, counseling resources, and other student services designed to meet the needs of every new student, including students with disabilities or those who may be learning remotely online.
Hoonuit helps higher education institutions implement specific first-year programming with a variety of resources designed to help learners feel confident and be successful in college, career, and beyond. We empower educators to support student retention and engagement with college-specific self-management skills, including resources on choosing a major, succeeding in online classes, time management, and more. Additionally, our platform seamlessly integrates with nearly every learning management system, meaning we’ll enhance — not overhaul — your faculty’s existing workflow.
Interested in learning how Hoonuit can help prevent dropout on your college or university campus? Visit our Higher Education online learning page to learn more.
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