Let’s start with a few statistics. There’s nothing like a few statistics to make an article look important and official and authoritative. (Whatever that last word means…)
- 30% of college and university students drop out after their first year.
- 40% of students who start college won’t finish their academic program.
- 60% of college dropouts had no financial support from their parents.
Those are big numbers. Maybe not as big as Donald Trump’s hairspray bill, but still big, and indicative that tens of thousands of students were not as ready for college as they thought they were.
- So, what about you? Are you ready for college?
- Are you sure?
- Are you sure you’re sure??
Sorry about all the questions. There’s nothing worse than being bombarded with questions, is there? But you’re going to have to ask yourself a lot of questions as you consider your state of college readiness.
Being ready for college means more than being prepared to handle the curriculum. Actually, the academic demands of doing a degree might not be demanding for you at all. That side of it might be as easy as shelling peas with an Acme Pea Sheller. But campus life is not all about a college degree.
You have to do many other things as a college student. Living is one of them. Yes, you have to do a lot of living while you’re studying. Things like eating, and sleeping, and working, and bill paying, and socializing, and prioritizing, and goal setting, and cleaning, and self-disciplining, and organizing, and self-motivating, and cooking, and commuting, and question asking. Throw in a bit of breathing as well. You have to do all that living while you’re studying. Are you ready and prepared to do those things?
Unlike the Acme Pea Sheller, the Acme Life Organizer has yet to be invented. It’s largely up to YOU to organize your own academic and non-academic life. Starting a college degree on campus will be the first taste of independence you’ve craved, but it will also be the first time you’ve had to be responsible for your own welfare. If Mom and Dad are doing the right thing, and not being ‘helicopter parents’, then you’ll have to live your life without your parents hovering above and doing everything for you. This is another form of education, outside of your academic program, and the life lessons you learn will set you up for the future.
It all comes back to independence. The idea of it might be thrilling but the reality of it has seen thousands of students drop out of college. The inability to handle the pressures of real life, which are often amplified when study demands are thrown in, can make it almost impossible to go from freshman to graduate. Are you the independent type of person? Can you take control of everyday living? On Your Own? And Unsupervised? It’s time to start asking yourself these questions relating to life outside of the academic realm. The answers, provided you’re honest with yourself, will help you decide if you’re equipped to cope with real life, as well as campus life.
Another Question To Ask Yourself
A lot of people drop out of college because it’s just too expensive. So, as you consider your readiness for college, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself yet another question.
Can I afford to go to college?
One of those uber-cool statistics we used to start this article stated that 60% of college dropouts had no financial support from their parents. Financial stress is not conducive to college study, or to life in general. The rising costs of doing a degree, and the rising costs of living, can add up to one unpalatable conclusion. Dropping out of college and getting a real job.
Never assume that Mom and Dad can afford to pay for everything. And don’t presume you’ll walk into a part time job that pays mega bucks for working minimal hours that happen to fit exactly into your academic timetable. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that student debt surpassed the one trillion dollar mark in 2011, and they should know because they have a very important sounding name. While the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that about 25% of college students are behind in their loan repayments. That’s clear evidence that so many college students enroll in a degree without being financially ready for college.
Having enough cash reserves to sustain you during the course of your college program is vital. Studying without financial pressures weighing you down has to be your goal. Whatever you think is enough money to get by is probably not enough. Take another look at your budget, or consider cheaper options. Maybe a more affordable college, or even an online degree to reduce your living costs? How about a year of working to boost your cash reserves? It is better to delay your studies than drop out halfway through because you don’t have the money to continue.
Not Ready For Campus Life? How About An Online Degree?
The flexibility of distance education could be the ideal solution if you’re unsure about college. You might be ready to study, but not so ready to make the dramatic life changes that come with moving to a college campus. An online degree resolves that issue by allowing you to study with minimal disruption to your life.
Distance education is just one thing to consider as you try and reach a conclusion about this college business. With so many things to weigh up, it might be a good idea to do an online quiz about college readiness. There are lots of them. If I had a dollar for every online quiz I have seen in the last two hours, I would have $135. Of course, an online quiz should not be considered as definitive, in the same way an online IQ test shouldn’t be used to back up your NASA job application. But such a quiz might ask questions you hadn’t thought of, or raise issues that weren’t apparent when you started thinking about doing a college degree.
You might not need to do an online quiz to determine your readiness. Maybe you just have a gut feeling that you and college aren’t quite ready for each other just yet. That’s perfectly OK. You don’t win a gold medal and a rich Nike endorsement for doing a degree in world record time. You can put it off and do other things until you feel you’re ready. It might just be a case of needing time to mature, so you’re able to handle independent living and all the responsibilities that come with it. Or a case of saving up money, so you feel that you’re financially ready.
How Will You Know You Are Ready For College?
The twist at the end of The Sixth Sense proves that we can never really be certain about anything. So is being sure about college even possible? Maybe everyone who has ever gone to college has not felt fully ready? It could just be a case of apprehension, which is to be expected when taking any big step. But generally speaking, you can have a fair idea of your readiness if you can provide a positive response to questions like these:
- Am I mature enough to leave home and attend college?
- Do I have the life skills needed for campus living?
- Will I have more than enough money?
- Do I need to graduate to pursue my dream career?
- Have I chosen the right college?
- Have I chosen the right degree?
- Have I explored every other option besides college?
- Am I excited about what lies ahead?
If you’re still thinking about your answers, that is a good thing. Going to college is a big step, and worthy of much consideration. And if you find yourself answering ‘NO’ to one or two of these questions, don’t be too distraught. Just because you’re not ready for college now doesn’t mean you’ll never be ready. Taking your time to get prepared for college is much better than rushing in and dropping out.