College isn’t just about academics—it’s also a life stage that allows teens to transition into life as independent adults. When a student decides to drop out of college, the decision is often difficult for parents to accept. How will leaving school affect their child’s future? What can they do to help?
Dr. Bryn Jessup, Director of Family Services at Yellowbrick, says most students don’t have a single, easy-to-identify reason for wanting to drop out of college. “It’s usually the result of a cascade of failures, stresses and difficulties,” he says.
Those difficulties can include:
Parents who have invested years of attention and resources to launch their child off to college often push back against the decision to drop out.
“Hopes and expectations have generally peaked at the same time that a child’s struggles begin to emerge, making it hard to appreciate—let alone accept—the full extent of the difficulties,” Jessup says.
College-age students who want to maintain a sense of independence can also be vague about their reasons for wanting to drop out of college. “It’s important to remember that there may be more to the story than what you first hear from your son or daughter,” Jessup says.
What can parents do after a student moves back home?
“A critical first step is to determine all of the contributing factors that resulted in the student’s failure to meet the demands of that particular college environment,” Jessup says. That means having honest conversations about what happened, why it happened, and what goals should be set for the next month, six months and year. During this time of transition, parents can suggest a number of options, whether it’s entering a substance-abuse program, getting a job, or taking courses at a local community college. The important thing is to decide what happens next together.
Starting this September, Yellowbrick will be opening a new residence program called Campus Competence, where young adults who previously may have dropped out of college completely now can return to school with additional support. Students will receive academic counseling, executive functioning coaching and more to help them learn how to successfully manage stress and make the most out of their college experience. Find out more about Campus Competence.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.