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Why Stay in School


  1. High school dropouts are four times as likely to be unemployed as those who have completed four or more years of college;
  2. Graduating from high school will determine how well you live for the next 50 years of your life. High school graduates earn $143 more per week than high school dropouts. College graduates earn $336 more per week than high school graduates ($479 more per week than high school dropouts);
  3. Dropouts are more likely to apply for and receive public assistance than graduates of high school;
  4. Dropouts comprise a disproportionate percentage of the nation's prison and death row inmates. 82% of prisoners in America are high school dropouts;
  5. School districts all over the country provide alternative programs for students who are not successful in the usual school setting. The best programs in the country are featured in our Model Programs Database.

On Monday morning, when your alarm clock blaringly rings at 6 a.m., you are probably thinking what millions of other teens across the country are thinking, “I don’t want to go to school.”  Going to school can be stressful and irritating at times, and for this reason, many teens actually drop out of high school before they reach the 12th grade.

Recent studies by the US Department of Education found that nearly 1.2 million students between the age of 15 and 24 dropped out of high school before reaching their senior year.  Among the reasons the US Department of Education cited for such incidences of dropping out of high school include lack of educational support, outside influences, special needs, financial problems, drug and alcohol abuse, depression or illness, physical abuse, teen pregnancy, and alternative lifestyles.  The most common reason however, was a lack of interest.

Such a large number of students dropping out of high school is alarming, especially when considering the consequences it leads to.  Studies have shown that high school dropouts have a much harder time finding a job than those who complete high school; in fact, most entry level jobs nowadays require a minimum of a high school education.  The work force is becoming increasingly more competitive, and without a minimum of a high school education, the opportunity for upward mobility is slim.

Furthermore, dropping out of high school gives teens a lot of extra free-time, which many times makes it more likely for teens to engage in destructive behavior including drug and alcohol use.  Such behavior, coupled with the meager opportunities available, can have a spiraling effect, leading to depression and low self-esteem.

If you already have dropped out of high school, there are still options.  You can still go back to school and get your diploma or a Graduation Equivalency Diploma (GED).  The GED is becoming much more widely accepted, and you can gain admittance to a Jr. College and some full term 4 year colleges.  Also, the employment opportunities for someone with a GED are much better than they are for someone who dropped out of high school. 

If you are considering dropping out of high school, take a long hard look at your reasons for doing so, and contemplate whether it is really worth it.  It is important to note that there are many programs that help teens with special needs or who are dealing with teen pregnancy.  If you are having a hard time in school, it is strongly encouraged that you talk to a trusted teacher or adult. 

Receiving a high school education is important.  While going to school can certainly be stressful at times, it is well worth the pressure.  Having the tenacity and perseverance to complete your high school education, even when times are very hard, is important in demonstrating and developing integrity and a good work ethic.  So next time the alarm rings and it’s time to get out of bed and go to school, just remember that your future is resting on the mindset and decisions you make today.