Options for High School Dropouts

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The statistics regarding high school dropouts are bad enough to make any parent cringe.

For example, according to an article published in the New York Times, the average high school graduate will earn 50 to 100 percent more than someone who drops out of school, and those who do drop out are more likely to draw on welfare, and they’re more likely to be embroiled in the criminal justice system. This isn’t something that any parent would wish on a child, yet there are some teens who insist that dropping out is the only thing they’ll agree to do.

When faced with this situation, there are some things parents can do to help.

Options for High School Dropouts

While it’s often assumed that most students who enroll in school will stay in school long enough to complete their education, there are many students who drop out each year.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8.1 percent of students dropped out in 2009.

Educators and politicians have tried for decades to convince students to stay in school, and these programs are succeeding, to some degree. The number of dropouts in the 1980s and 1990s had reached epidemic levels, but laws requiring mandatory attendance until a specific age, along with increased parental knowledge of the risks of dropping out, have helped many students to get the education they need. However, many students still find the need to leave school, no matter what their parents or their educators might say. Students with drug addictions, for example, may fall so far behind in school due to their addictions that they fear they’ll never catch up, no matter how much they want to. Students who get pregnant due to alcohol abuse might also drop out of school, as they need to prepare to give birth.

Re-Enrollment Opportunities

The laws regarding education vary dramatically from state to state, so it’s difficult to make sweeping pronouncements about the options students have.

There are some states that are required to accept students into public schools if they can prove residency and they are beneath a particular age cutoff point.

Even if these students drop out, if they reconsider their decision and they’d like to go back to school to complete their degrees, they can go back to the schools they’ve left and re-enroll. It can be difficult for these students to catch up, of course, but with hard work and support, they may be able to do so.

This might be a good option for students who have temporary disruptions in their lives due to poor living environments or substance use and abuse. Once these students have attended to the issues that forced them to drop out, they can then move on and complete their degrees at a later time.

GED Provides an Alternate

Students who have no interest in enrolling in their old schools, or who are old enough that their schools will not accept them, might benefit from taking the GED. This is a test that measures how much students know, and it’s designed to ensure that students have learned the same sort of information they would have picked up in completed educational program.

Students can prepare for the test by:

  • Taking online courses
  • Buying and studying books at home
  • Enrolling in preparation courses in the community
  • Hiring a tutor

There have been some vocal critics of the GED who claim that this certification isn’t quite as valuable as a high school diploma. As an article in the Phi Delta Kappan put it, about 72 percent of people who have taken the GED test in the years past have passed it, which might indicate that the test is slightly too easy. However, the test is often all that’s required for students who would like to go on to community college, or accept higher positions at work. This could be a fine option for some students.

Heading to Work

Some students feel as though they’d learned all they need to, and they’re remarkably resistant to any suggestion that they continue their education.

Teens are stubborn, and once they’ve decided that they do or do not want to do something, it can be hard to make them see the value of an alternate position. For some students, work may be a good option. If students can enroll in an entry-level position in a mechanic’s shop, warehouse or some other form of manual labor, they might be able to take classes through their employers and continue to learn. They might also be able to make a living wage, which could allow them to build a solid foundation for their lives. Once their lives become calmer, these people may choose to go back to school.

Getting Help

Students with addiction issues will access counseling help when they enroll in rehab programs. Here, they may be asked to reexamine their decision to drop out, and they may even be provided with tutoring and mentoring that could make getting their diploma or their GED a bit more likely.

We provide help for teens at Newport Academy, including educational help. We’ve helped teens to understand the value of an education, and we’ve enrolled these students in our alternative high school, to help them complete their education.

If you’d like to find out more about our teen treatment programs, please contact us today.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.