5 Reasons College Students Dropout… and How We Help

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We’ve all seen the stories about college dropouts who go on to achieve great success in life.

Kanye West titled his debut album after his college dropout experience and went on to gain fame and success doing what he loves. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard twice—only to become one of the world’s richest people. And what about Oprah Winfrey? She left Tennessee State University to pursue a career in media. That turned out pretty well!

Sounds great, right? Just take a few college courses, find your passion, drop out to pursue it and become rich and famous!

Unfortunately, for most of us, that type of success story is far more of a fantasy than a reality. In the real world, college dropouts end up earning 35% less per year than college graduates; that’s an average of $21,000 less per year. Even worse, college dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty compared with those who completed college.

Here’s the good news: Our team helps college dropouts complete their degrees. We work to understand the reasons why students left college in the first place and then provide an alternative path to degree completion.

Check out some of the top reasons why students drop out of college, and how we help them finish.

1. Financial concerns

One of the main reasons students drop out of college is due to financial shortcomings. Here’s a troubling statistic: 89% of students from the first generation in low-earning families tend to drop out of college. Not only have college costs skyrocketed in recent decades, but many students have to work fulltime jobs not just to support themselves, but also to support families. Finding the money or taking out hefty student loans can be a major hindrance to completing a degree. In addition, acquiring student loans or other large-sum financing can be cumbersome and overwhelming.

At Accelerated Pathways, we help students finish their degrees affordably. Not only do our college courses cost 36% less than the national average, but we let students pay as they go. That means no taking out large student loans in advance or dealing with years of debt. We work with any student budget and even offer discounted course package plans. And unlike many of our competitors, the courses you take through Accelerated Pathways are regionally accredited and guaranteed to transfer, so you don’t have to worry about whether your hard-earned investment in college credit will count toward your degree.

2. Don’t have time

Many students leave college because they couldn’t find a healthy school-work-life balance. The time spent on class lectures, projects, tests and studying prove to be too much. College is a multiyear commitment, and many students drop out because they just don’t have that kind of time to complete their degrees. Life gets in the way. Work gets in the way. Health gets in the way. Even distance gets in the way for students who attend traditional college campuses. In fact, students who live far away from their college campuses are responsible for 4% of college dropouts.

At Accelerated Pathways, we let students study whenever, wherever! With our self-paced online courses, there’s no need to worry about class schedules, deadlines or even semesters. You can start courses anytime—even on weekends—and learn whenever it’s convenient for your schedule. All you need is a laptop and internet. In addition, we’re experts at finding degree programs that accept prior college credit. That can be a huge time (and cost) saver for students who already knocked out some of their college requirements.

3. College social life

Did you know that 13% of college students drop out because of the social dynamics at college? Campus life can put a lot of pressure on students to fit into new social norms. For some, this can feel like re-living high school drama all over… or worse… feeling like it’s impossible to live up to your peers academically. Many non-traditional college students who return to college after years away are older than the general student population. This can also contribute to feelings of being an outsider who doesn't fit into the college social scene.

We offer an alternative! At Accelerated Pathways, social interaction is online and on your terms. You get to collaborate with teachers, classmates and academic counselors in ways that suit your learning and social style. This lets you put your education—not social dynamics—front and center. You’ll never be forced into an awkward situation that makes you feel distracted from your studies, scared to ask a question or socially uneasy about your learning experience.

4. Lack of support

College is a huge commitment and requires lots of self-dedication and self-determination. While it’s important to nurture your own drive and motivation, it’s also important to have support from friends and/or family. Even the most driven person will sometimes want to give up when the pressure of academia seems overwhelming. Sadly, not everyone gets the type of backing they need. Lack of adequate support from family contributes to 9% of college dropouts. Without supportive people to help push you toward your goals, it can be that much harder to accomplish them.

At Accelerated Pathways, we support you the whole way! While our team can’t replace family, we provide every student with world-class coaching. Our academic counselors are experts at keeping you engaged, prepared for your next steps and encouraged the whole way—even when the going gets tough. We find workarounds when you need a mental health break, and we even help you celebrate your successes. We love our students, and they share the love back! Just see what our students are saying about us.

5. Academic disqualification

College coursework can be challenging, and many students may be unprepared or ill-equipped for the challenges of university academics. In fact, 28% of students who drop out of college are unable to meet the set academic requirements. Feelings of frustration with understanding new concepts plus pressure to complete projects and homework under deadlines only add to this stress. Technical or higher-level courses, in particular, can cause students to feel like the content is moving much too fast to absorb. This can lead to terrible feelings of exasperation and anxiety.

We hate those feelings! That’s why we offer self-paced courses that let students learn in a stress-free environment. By having the ability to move at your own pace, instead of the pace of an instructor or advanced students, you can really absorb the content in your own way. This takes a huge burden off of those who want to return to college after a long time away or those who are learning unfamiliar concepts and difficult material for the first time. No more feeling like things are moving too fast or you can’t ask the questions you need. Plus, our counselors are here to support you and make sure you have the necessary resources every step of the way!


According to Imed Bouchrika, Chief Data Scientist at Research.com, “Finishing a college degree is a proven, first step towards a bright and successful future, as statistics often present a strong correlation between higher education and job security.”

We’re sure you’ve had some very good and specific reasons for leaving college in the past. We’d love to learn what your obstacles were and help you overcome them. Our team is great at finding the right degree program to maximize your prior college credit, motivate you to learn and get you to the finish line. Let us provide you with a comparison of the best degree options to fit your learning style, schedule and budget. Reach out today for a free consultation!

Pearson Accelerated Pathways

We think college can be affordable, flexible, and purposeful. And we're here to show you how.