Top Five Reasons Students Don't Want to Attend College

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Feature Story

by Jenny Faubert

Each year, many students across the country decide not to seek higher education after high school. A number of these students have to overcome many obstacles before deciding to attend college. Some of the reasons students decide not to go to college are:

  • No one in their family has gone to college;
  • They didn't do well in high school, so they think college will be too hard;
  • They don't know how to choose a college;
  • They think they won't fit in; or
  • They think they can't afford college.

A student studies his booksTalk about tough barriers to overcome – and some students have to deal with all of them! Don't let your students despair – there is hope. A little patience, a few helpful hints and some research will have your students on their way to college in no time.

As the first person in their families to attend college, these students often do not know where to start, how to apply, what school to go to or how to finance their education. Out of sheer frustration, these students may just give up. Guidance counselors can give students hope, encouragement and help them decipher the application process. Additionally, career college admissions representatives will walk the student through the entire application process from start to end. At the very least, counselors and college representatives will be able to get the student started on the right track.

Getting through college can be easier with a few helpful hints. First, a student should know their study habits and learning styles. This will be key to their success in college. Some common bad study habits are: poor time management, poor study environment and cramming. Overcoming these habits will help students succeed in college. Most career colleges also offer free tutoring to their students or group study sessions.

Key points students should focus on when searching for a college are: program of study, location, cost, student services, and retention and graduation rates, just to name a few. First, students should list their priorities and from there, they can start the research process. The Internet can be a useful tool when researching schools. Many college resources on the Internet give students the ability to search by different items, such as location or program of study. However, this should not be their only college research resource. After they have narrowed down their list, they should contact the schools for additional information. Finally, a tour of the campus and a visit with an admissions representative will make the final decision easier for students.

Are your students afraid they won't fit in at college? Students making that transition from high school, where they knew the same people for years, to a different school with people they don't know can be scary. Diverse groups of people can be found at career colleges, and on top of that, many schools offer social activities where students can meet new people. Students should also be encouraged to get involved in academic activities, such as student government or the college newspaper, where they will find smaller groups to bond with.

Numerous students think they can't afford to go to college and this often deters them from even considering it. However, a large percent of students in college receive some type of financial aid. Additionally, there are several different types and sources of financial aid. There are grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. Grants, work-study and scholarships do not have to be repaid and therefore are the best source of financial aid. While federal loans have to be paid back, they have a low interest rate and can be paid back over a long period of time. This can all be confusing to students, but the college's financial aid office will be able to help students sort through the different types of financial aid.

A group of students congregates on the stepsSeveral Imagine America Foundation publications can also help students overcome many of these fears. The 2007 Imagine America Student's Guide features articles on applying to a career college, study tips, budgeting, time management and avoiding common mistakes made by high school graduates. The 2007 Imagine America Guide to Career Colleges addresses topics such as applying to a career college, choosing a career college, financing your career education, researching scholarships and other helpful tips for students. Additionally, for counselors and admissions representatives, the Foundation's Fact Book 2007: A Profile of Career Colleges and Universities lists vital statistics on the career college sector in the areas of effectiveness and accountability, diversity, affordability, graduation rates and job opportunities. These publications can also help answer many questions students have. To find out more about the Foundation's publications and our programs, please visit www.imagineamericafoundation.com or www.imagine-america.org.