Causes and Prevention of High School Dropouts


Authored by Stephanie Urich in Education
Published on 08-06-2009

The National Center for Education Statistics show that in the 2003-2004 school year as many as 25% of high school freshmen dropped out before earning their diploma. Though this number has continued to decrease over the years, the consequences are staggering. On average, dropouts earn less than half of what college graduates earn and tend to have more health problems. The consequences for our nation are just as troublesome. Solutions for America records that dropouts commit about 75 percent of crimes committed in the US, and have estimated that these dropouts will cost the United States over $200 billion dollars each year in crime and welfare costs.

The three leading causes of high school students choosing to end their educational pursuits early include:

Socioeconomic background.

Students from low incomes families are more likely to drop out.

Race ethnicity.

Hispanics have the highest rate of dropouts, followed by African Americans.

Poor academic standards and performance.

Students who receive poor grades or are held back a grade, in addition to having misbehavior in the classroom and low occupational aspirations.

Here are some tips for helping your student make it through high school and beyond:

Help your child see the connection between school and fulfilling work.

Most high school dropouts rationalize they could be making more money flipping burgers during school hours than focusing on education. By helping them see and experience the opportunities that their education will bring their way, you can help them focus.

Pay close attention to your child’s academics.

Being familiar with what they are learning, and not learning, can go a long way with helping your child succeed. By paying close attention, you will be able to notice when your child is struggling and can get him help accordingly.

Encourage your child to build relationships with adults who are strong role models.

If these adults are academic leaders, all the better. By having encouraging and intelligent adults care about their lives, young people are more likely to want to succeed.

Make sure your child’s school is doing all they can to promote safe environments.

A child is unlikely to want to go to a place where she feels threatened or insecure.

Teach your children manners.

In today’s school systems, much of an instructors time is wasted dealing with the students who have no basic understanding of respect and consideration. By setting a standard for your children and requiring them to live up to these standards, you can help create an environment where children can learn to function with their peers and focus on their education without distractions.

Academic institutions are doing what they can to promote a healthy and encouraging learning environment, but a little help from the family and community is needed to ensure that the graduation rate continues to rise. By learning the most common causes of high school dropouts and implementing methods of prevention, you can help your student succeed through their secondary education and beyond.


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