The Importance of Preventing Students from Dropping out of High School

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The attached report explains how important it is to prevent students from dropping out of high school and what can be done to prevent it. I believe you will find the research detailed and educational, especially for those students who are debating dropping out of high school.

The given research study should include the following information:

  • How high-school dropout rates can be reduced.
  • Alternatives to high-school graduation.
  • Why students decide to drop out.

The central message of this report is that while some students drop out because of significant academic challenges, most dropouts are students who believe they could have succeeded in school.

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This survey of young people who left high school without graduating suggests that, despite career aspirations that require education beyond high school and a majority having grades of C or better, circumstances in students’ lives and an inadequate response to those circumstances from schools led to dropping out. While reasons vary, the general categories remain the same, whether it’s New York, Chicago, or anywhere else across America.

According to an online source, “over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States every year, and about 25% of high school freshmen already intend to drop out of high school.” The major concern is how this dropout rate can be decreased and prevented. Many teachers, parents, and adults are unsure why their teens are willing to give up on their education. Teens have various reasons leading to this thought, but with the help of others, it can be prevented. It’s said that the law mandates that children must attend school until the age of sixteen, and after that, they’re free to do as they desire. But what can one do without a high school diploma in this era? It is challenging to secure a well-paying job, let alone achieve success without a college education or a high school diploma. On average, high school dropouts earn approximately $10,386 less than those who have a diploma. To prevent teenagers from dropping out, help must start early.

Parental Prevention for High School Dropouts

Teenagers need adult encouragement. Many students drop out of school because they feel no one is interested in them. Teachers, administrators, and other adults do encourage. Yet, more encouragement is necessary, as much as possible, in my opinion. During elementary school years, parents need to do all they can to help their children build their reading, writing, and math skills. A journalist said, “Success is more likely if the family communicates high, yet reasonable expectations for the child’s future career, and becomes involved in his or her education.”

Get Involved

Talk to your teen, but don’t judge, find out the problem so that it can be fixed. Don’t get upset; instead, offer support and ask how you can help. Most students drop out because they feel hopeless and feel as if they can’t improve their grades since it’s too late. Other reasons are bullying, teen pregnancy, depression, problems with drugs/alcohol, or social problems at school. When you look into why your teen is considering dropping out, you have to be prepared for whatever you discover.

Tips on preventing your teen from dropping out:

  • Reach out to your teen’s school.
  • Become a part of the PTA.
  • Develop a relationship with the parents of your teen’s friends.
  • Have your teen seek help, if necessary.
  • Stay in contact with your teen’s school.
  • Pay attention to his or her school attendance.
  • Motivate your teen to look into extracurricular activities.
  • Look into career options – what education will be needed to be successful in those careers.
  • Make graduating a priority, not an option.

As students get older, don’t get less involved in their lives. Once a teen enters high school, they often believe they are more independent; their attitude changes, and they believe they should be recognized as a young adult. If they decide dropping out is what they want to do, inform them that they will need to get a job like other adults do. Staying home won’t help; they need to know that if they decide to stop attending school, they will be expected to pay rent and help contribute to the household. Therefore, parents should remind their teens that dropping out of high school is an “adult” choice.

Teacher Prevention for High School Dropouts

Many teachers are unsure what they can do to help students when it comes to preventing them from dropping out of high school. Some young people feel disconnected from their peers and teachers in school, which can cause a student to feel alone. Parents aren’t always the first person a teen wants to talk to, for fear of what they might say. All schools should have concerned teachers whose goals are to make a difference in their students’ lives. An article states, “In Sacramento, California, high school staff members make appointments with parents for voluntary home visits, to keep parents engaged with their children’s progress.” This method was considered so useful it was replicated in eleven other states, plus the District of Columbia.

Effective strategies

There are many students who aren’t aware of how effective a high school diploma is. Without a diploma, he or she will lack the skills and credentials needed to become successful. There are numerous teachers who have the ability to communicate with their students on a personal level and prevent them from dropping out. An educational article states some effective strategies that teachers can use to improve retention rates: “alternative schooling, individualized attention, being proactive, offering encouragement and emphasizing the importance of education.”

Alternative schooling

A vocational school can be recommended for students who believe high school isn’t for them. Every student should have the opportunity to learn, and an alternative school should be considered. These schools award high school diplomas and allow young people to learn skills that they are considering focusing on in their future. The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, managed by Clemson University, has listed many different types of alternative schools available.

“School Within a School – Designed for students needing a separate location within the traditional school, usually a separate wing with different staff, for their academic or social behavior programs;

School Without Walls – Designed for students requiring educational and training programs delivered from various locations within the community, usually requiring flexible student schedules;

Residential School – Designed for special case students, usually placed by the courts or the family, with special counseling and educational programs;

Separate Alternative Learning Center – Designed for students needing a special curriculum, such as parenting skills or special job skills, and a separate location from the traditional school, often located in business environments, churches, or remodeled retail centers with excellent transportation services;

College-Based Alternative School – Designed for students needing high school credits, operated by public school staff, but using a college facility to enhance the student’s self-esteem and offer other services that would benefit the student’s growth;

Summer School – Designed to be either remedial for academic credits or to enhance a student’s special interests, perhaps in science, computers, etc.;

Magnet School – Designed to focus on selected curriculum areas with specialized teachers and with student attendance usually by choice;

Second-Chance School – Designed for students who are judged to be troubled and placed in the school by the courts or the school district as a last chance before being expelled or incarcerated; and

Charter School – Designed as an autonomous educational entity operating under a contract negotiated between the state agency and the local school sponsors.”

These schools have successfully improved attitudes towards school, helped with high school credits, and reduced behavior problems in school.

Individualized attention

One-on-one help from a teacher, advisor, or even a counselor can be effective. Once a teen starts struggling with their work or having consistently failing grades, they can start to feel hopeless. This can be prevented by an observant teacher who has the best intentions for their student and wants to see him or her pass. Individual attention may involve tutoring, assigning makeup work, or offering extra credit. If that teacher doesn’t have time, she can refer the student to another tutor.

Being proactive

Paying attention to students early can help prevent a number of negative outcomes. Many students decide even before high school that they want to drop out, which is why teachers in elementary and middle schools have a major impact on their students. Schools should employ teachers who are dedicated to identifying and assisting students who are struggling or disinterested in school.

Offering Encouragement

Building a student’s confidence can be an incredibly beneficial factor in the child’s life. There may be things going on outside of school that teachers aren’t aware of. Yet, by providing students with that extra push of encouragement, they can find the strength to persevere until graduation.

Emphasizing the Importance of Education

Not all students understand how vital it is to finish school. Demonstrating the types of jobs that require a high school degree could change their perspective. While there are jobs that don’t require a high school diploma, they are often not as well-paid. Teachers have the advantage of educating the youth about the importance of choosing a career, which may deter many of them from leaving high school prematurely.

Why Students Dropout

The process of dropping out of school begins long before students reach high school. There are myriad reasons why students choose to drop out, and this often leaves their parents distraught at the thought of their child not attending their high school graduation. However, for some students, graduation is not their ultimate goal. The top reason, accounting for 27.6%, as illustrated in the figure below, states that students drop out due to failing grades. At some point, these students give up, feeling like there is no hope left for them. Teachers, family members, and other adult figures can help by consistently encouraging these teens and making them aware that they believe in their potential. The least common reason for students dropping out is being expelled. Surprisingly, some students with behavioral issues or other problems have no issue with being suspended or expelled. However, this should not halt their education; options like homeschooling can provide a viable alternative for these students to complete their education.

Financial Issues

Once a teenager becomes independent, they begin to develop expenses. Some families struggle to support one another financially, so a job becomes necessary. Balancing a job and school can be challenging due to the workload associated with high school and maintaining a steady job with a decent paycheck. Consequently, most teens choose to work instead of attending school. However, students should be aware that they can take the opportunity to work with their school staff; this way, they can earn money and improve their school experience. This is called the work-study program. Most students aren’t aware of this program, even though a guidance counselor may have given them the information.


According to an article, many students are economically involved in their family’s financial stability. Many teens may not be uninterested in school or receiving bad grades; their families just need their financial help. A journalist stated, “Student earning boosts 42 percent of poor households over the poverty line. The Department of Health and Human Services sets the poverty line for a family of five at $28,410[CITATION Ros15 | 1033].” Therefore, youth are living in households with very little to no education.

Teen Pregnancy

About 50% of teen girls who become pregnant are likely to receive their high school diploma by the age of 22, whereas 90% of those who don’t become pregnant graduate on time. The majority of these pregnant teens are Black and Hispanic, living in poverty due to their predicament.

Balancing an education and a pregnancy may seem impossible to some, but it has been proven that it can be done. Let’s take the example of a teen mother from Chicago, Trameka Pope, who became pregnant in eighth grade, defeated the odds, and not only graduated on time but also became the valedictorian of her graduating class. She jumped hurdles to succeed. It wasn’t easy, but with the help of teachers and counselors, she made it happen, and so can others. Teen parents can’t do it alone, and they shouldn’t have to choose between parenting and receiving an education. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations formed to assist girls who become pregnant and need help, as well as programs to educate females so they can prevent this from happening to them.

Some non-profit organizations:

  • National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • Advocates for Youth
  • CAI Network
  • Healthy Teen Network
  • John Snow, Inc. and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.
  • Planned Parenthood

All across America, teen pregnancies have delayed graduation for many female high school students. The chart above shows that in the 2008-2009 school year, the Midwest had the highest percentage affected by pregnancies. In other states, rates of pregnant freshmen ranged from 74% to 82%, dominating the map, including New York. If you become pregnant at a young age and feel defeated, seeking assistance from certain programs can be a significant help.

Effects of Dropping Out

After making the decision to stop attending school, do you have a plan? The majority of students do not, and are simply willing to take the risk. Some teens plan to be successful without a high school diploma, seeing school as a hurdle. The average dropout can expect to earn an annual income of $20,241, which is a full $10,386 less than the typical high school graduate. Studies illustrate multiple adverse effects of dropping out of school on the youth, such as unemployment, lower income, missed opportunities, and an alternative lifestyle leading to incarceration.


Those who do not finish school have a higher chance of being unemployed or receiving a low-paying job. A journalist states, “Finding a job is much more of a challenge for dropouts. While the national unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent in August, joblessness among those without a high school degree measured 12 percent. Among college graduates, it was 4.1 percent.”

Alternative Lifestyle

Teens who are drawn into drug dealing and prostitution may view high school as a waste of time, as they do not need an education to sell drugs or their bodies. These two methods of making money can also lead to incarceration.


According to an article from the Center for Labor Market Studies, only one percent of students who complete high school end up incarcerated between the ages of 16 and 24. However, 6.3 percent of high school dropouts find themselves incarcerated at some point between the ages of 16 and 24. Those who have no intentions of finding a job usually end up on the streets, committing crimes. The jobs they are able to secure without a diploma are normally low-paying roles in retail or fast-food restaurants.


The bottom line for parents to help reduce the number of teen high school dropouts across the nation is to equip themselves and their teens with knowledge and alternative methods, such as going to a continuation or alternative school to receive their high school diploma and/or get their GED. With the help of your community, a major retention of high school dropouts can be made.

Works Cited

  • (2013, January 29). Retrieved from education/
  • Breslow, J. (2012). By the Numbers: Dropping Out of High School. Frontline. Clemson University. (n.d.). National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. Retrieved from
  • DoSomething. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Furger, R. (2008, December 3). Edutopia. Retrieved from
  • Leuchovius, D. (n.d.). EduGuide. Retrieved from
  • Robertson, S. (n.d.). The Effects of Dropping Out of High School. Retrieved from
  • Rosales, J. (2015, june 8). Retrieved from students-drop-out-the economic-pressures
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The Importance of Preventing Students from Dropping out of High School. (2023, Feb 06). Retrieved from