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Why Flunking Out of College Might Be a Good Thing

Jul 8, 2009 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Are you flunking out? Chances are everyone’s disappointed in you—but still, flunking out of college may not be a bad thing. In some cases, it’s possible it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Here are a few reasons why flunking out of college may not be so bad after all.

You don’t need a college degree for what you want to do

Many jobs require a college degree as a basic qualification. But there are also plenty of jobs—some quite well-paying—that don’t need a degree at all. If you think maybe you want to be an electrician, a construction manager, an air traffic controller, or an executive chef—just to name a few—flunking out of a four-year Liberal Arts college could be one of the best things you ever do for your career.

It takes you out of a situation you weren’t suited to

Some people just aren’t suited to college. There’s nothing wrong with this. Maybe you’d rather be working with your hands than writing papers—and if so, there are plenty of careers that will pay you well to do what you’re good at. College isn’t the right path for everyone, even though it’s sometimes presented that way.


Its not the end of the road if you don't finish college.

Have no fear, not finishing college doesn't mean you won't succeed. In fact, many dropouts have gone on to do amazing things with their careers even without a degree.




No more sleeping through classes

Let’s face it you got sick of getting up early for college classes. Maybe you even flunked out because you couldn’t be bothered getting up for those early-morning classes. If your class schedule isn’t something you could handle, maybe that’s because you aren’t in the right school for your lifestyle. This is particularly true for nontraditional students - those who work full-time or who have children to care for. If this is you, you might be better served leaving that traditional college and taking classes at a community college or online university - both of which are often better prepared to accommodate nontraditional students.

It’s a sign of greatness

Did you know Bill Gates was a college dropout? So was Eugene O’Neil, Leo Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Barry Goldwater—as well as plenty of other successful entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, artists and politicians. Some really iconoclastic and brilliant minds just weren’t suited to the conformity of college. You definitely don’t need a degree to make a big impact on the world.

It gives you an opportunity to go to a new school

Maybe the school you were attending just wasn’t right for you. Maybe you skipped classes or didn’t get good grades because the classes you were taking had nothing to do with your real ambitions. There’s no problem with that—especially if your old school simply didn’t have the programs that would have gotten you where you want to go. Flunking out of one school frees you up for attending another.

If you flunked out of school, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go to another school. Many schools will require you to wait for a certain minimum period—sometimes six months to a year, although it varies by school—before you can reapply. You’ll have to talk to an admissions counselor about your situation, but it’s entirely possible they’ll be lenient despite your past academic record—community colleges and online schools can often be more accepting of nontraditional students than private traditional schools, however.

It lessens your debt load

As long as you leave relatively early, you can escape a school that wasn’t working for you with much less debt than you’d have if you stuck it out. True, you’d also have a degree if you’d stuck with it. But it might not be a degree in a subject you’re interested in a career in. When it comes to leaving college early, financial considerations often come into play—especially if you have a lot of student debt.

It gives you time to deal with personal situations

Sometimes directly after high school just isn’t the right time for some students to focus on college. If you’re dealing with a serious personal issue—a death or illness in the family, for example—you may not be ready to devote your entire attention to classes. In this case you may have to drop out, but even if you flunked, you can still go to school later on once you’ve dealt with your personal issues. Sometimes it’s best to wait until your life is more under control before going to school full-time.

It gives you an opportunity to start your own business sooner

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you may be well-served taking business classes—but you don’t need a degree. Entrepreneurs essentially make their own positions, and if you already have the knowledge you need to run your own business, why bother getting a degree? It’ll just load you up with debt you don’t need and make you wait before starting your own business.

In most cases, flunking out of college is a bad idea—you’ll still have some of the debt, but without the college degree. Still, there are some times when sticking it out will just put you in more debt and you’ll end up with a degree you don’t want. Flunking out isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it’s what you do with your time outside of college that counts.



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