Thinking About Dropping Out of High School? Think Again
Approximately 6.2 million people dropped out of high school in 2007 alone. In past decades, a fit, healthy young person could earn a decent wage even without a high school degree. Now, that’s demonstrably no longer true. In 1971, male dropouts who worked full time earned an average of $35,087. In 2000, that number shrank to 23,903. It’s clear that our economy is changing—and an education is no longer considered optional. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t drop out of high school.
You’ll be competing against high school and college grads all your life
Life is a competition. You’ll be competing for jobs your whole life, and your education is the only thing that gives you an edge when you’re young and don’t have much work experience. But even when you’re older, you’ll be competing against candidates who have degrees—for jobs, for promotions and for raises. Don’t set yourself at a disadvantage before you’ve even started a career.
Think school is tough now? Try going back as an adult
Employers have their pick of candidates
Many employers will screen you out entirely because you have no degree—despite your experience. They’ll nearly always take someone with a high school degree over someone without, and often they’ll take someone with an Associate’s before that—even if the job doesn’t necessarily draw on skills you learn in high school or college. More and more, an education is becoming mandatory in our economy.
Your parents and friends won’t support you forever
If you’re living at home now or staying with friends, you may think there’ll always be someone to help you get by. But do you want to rely on others for the rest of your life, or be the one others can come to for help? Some teenage dropouts believe they’ll always be able to ask others for help when they need it, so they don’t need a degree and a well-paying job. But minimum wage isn’t enough to support basic needs in most areas of the country, and your parents and friends won’t always be able to help you support yourself. Once you get older, the kind of help you expected as a teenager will dry up and people will expect you to take care of yourself.
High school dropouts are the most vulnerable
Even when you get a job, your level of education may hold you back. As the least educated on your team, you could be among the first to go when your company needs to lay off employees. You will have a harder time moving forward in your career without a degree. And once you lose a job, it will be harder to get a new one. High school dropouts are definitely the most vulnerable to losing income and staying in low income brackets in our society.
Getting the GED might sound easy—after all, it’s just a test—but the test is supposed to reflect everything you learned in high school at the senior level. Many people take numerous tries to pass, and some don’t pass at all. You’ll have to demonstrate advanced knowledge of algebra, geometry and calculus, write an essay, and pass history, science and critical reading sections. It’s not easy to pass—and often the work you have to complete for a passing grade in high school is easier. Don’t count on alternative ways to get a high school education if you still have the opportunity to stay in school and graduate.
CNN: “High School Dropout Crisis” Continues In US, Study Finds
Focus Adolescent Services: Youth Who Drop Out
Distance Education: Online High Schools
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