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Colleges kids leave, and why?

questbestquestbest Posts: 493Registered User Member
edited February 2010 in Parents Forum
I thought it would be interesting to hear about the colleges that kids have left and why. Each college posts their retention rate but this tells little about why a student decides to leave after freshman year (or later).
Post edited by questbest on
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Replies to: Colleges kids leave, and why?

  • rocket6louiserocket6louise Posts: 3,391Registered User Senior Member
    My friend left George Mason to go to Pitt. She partially missed home, but also felt that George Mason lacked school spirit and unity
  • questbestquestbest Posts: 493Registered User Member
    I know a student who felt the same way about George Mason (lack of school spirit).
  • ModadunnModadunn Posts: 6,205Registered User Senior Member
    Sometimes it has far less to do with the school and far more about what the student does and doesn't do. I suppose some of why a student cant manage to stay has something to do with academic supports at the school, but sometimes even with the best of intentions the kid isn't plugged in. So perhaps it should be more a question of... if a student chose to leave voluntarily... instead of just leaving.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Posts: 16,896Registered User Senior Member
    What I am seeing in my state (TN) is that a lot of students seem to leave the non-flagship campuses, even though they offer wonderful opportunities. I don't know what the deal is- if it isn't quite the college experience that the flagship offers, or if the kids were shaky about going away in the first place and picked a "smaller" campus..... Kids come home from UT-Martin and UT-Chatt in droves it seems.
  • PackMomPackMom Posts: 7,407Registered User Senior Member
    S1's friend left Catawba College, small LAC, because it was just too small for him after attending a h.s with almost 3000 kids. He went there as a recruited athlete but found that playing a sport was not a good reason to chose a college he would have otherwise not been interested in.
  • MommaJMommaJ Posts: 4,594Registered User Senior Member
    S left George Washington, disliking the lack of campus and realizing he didn't care for the urban vibe (particularly the clubbing scene) and the plethora of spoiled rich kids (I'm just reporting his opinion here, not saying he was right in his characterization). He left for a small, suburban LAC (which is where we and his guidance counselor thought he belonged all along--aargh). He didn't know himself that well as a senior in high school, but he finally figured it out.
  • questbestquestbest Posts: 493Registered User Member
    Anyone know of people not happy at Penn State?
  • silvervestersmomsilvervestersmom Posts: 710Registered User Junior Member
    ^^Penn State--My N, a southerner, had wanted to attend Penn State her whole life. After 2 years there she transferred to a much smaller LAC in her home state. At her wedding she told her father and me that those were the best 2 years of her life. We both asked, "Then why did you transfer?" and she couldn't give an answer.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,602Registered User Senior Member
    I have seen kids leave pricier schools after a year or so after they've "done the math" and have realized that their loans will be too big by the time they graduate or their parents can't/won't take out any more Plus loans.

    My neighbor's child left Vandy (a great school!), simply because the parents couldn't keep taking out loans for their high EFC. The weird thing is that if the child had gone cheaply the first 2 years, and then had gone to Vandy, at least the kid would have a Vandy degree with the same amount of loans. Now, the parents have loans, but their kid has a local school degree.
  • JHSJHS Posts: 14,014Registered User Senior Member
    It's safe to say that I am not a big Penn State booster. But any significant number of students at Penn State are unhappy, I have never heard about them or met their parents. People don't call it "Happy Valley" without reason. Really, kids love it, at least the ones who go there. The ones who don't want to go to college in a cute college town in the middle of nowhere don't go there in the first place.

    I suspect the main reasons kids leave ANY college are (a) money (that's probably (a) through (s) or (t)), (b) they weren't ready for college, ANY college, or (c) partying oneself into failure. Most of that has little to do with the specific college, and a lot to do with the kid.

    EDIT: On further thought, another reason kids leave colleges is that their parents made them go there in the first place. Sometimes the parents are right, and their college choice works out, but there's definitely a higher-than-average risk of departure when the parents tell their child which college to attend.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,385Registered User Senior Member
    In addition to the readiness factor and the cost factor my college junior son had a couple "city slicker" pals that left his college freshman year because it was too rural, too small, too cold and too far away from home. He also had a couple friends from high school leave the state flagships freshman year because they were too big and too impersonal. Mostly, there are many varieties of personal reasons why kids switch colleges/unis or take a leave...lots of threads on this topic, too.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Posts: 12,518Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with JHS, though I think b and c, not ready for college and partying oneself into failure are actually the same thing. fwiw.

    The few kids I know who are leaving the college they started at this year were pushed to attend these particular places by parents who didn't want them in other places. Regardless, it's important to relax and let it go. The kids go in a pretty straight line K-12 and then the whole thing starts to change. Some kids go straight through. Others go and work and go and work. Some don't go and find a job and then discover they need or want further schooling and go back for specific reasons (usually pretty succesfully, actually.)

    It's important to remember that even the best academic institutions in the country measure their graduation rates at 6 years, which tells a different story than what parents and kids originally think when they are filling out the original housing forms.

    good luck to you guys.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,602Registered User Senior Member
    I suspect the main reasons kids leave ANY college are (a) money (that's probably (a) through (s) or (t)), (b) they weren't ready for college, ANY college, or (c) partying oneself into failure.

    Most of that has little to do with the specific college, and a lot to do with the kid.

    EDIT: On further thought, another reason kids leave colleges is that their parents made them go there in the first place. Sometimes the parents are right, and their college choice works out, but there's definitely a higher-than-average risk of departure when the parents tell their child which college to attend.



    I agree that often the reasons a child leaves has little to do with the college and more with the child/family.

    I also agree that some parents force/encourage schools that are wrong for their child.

    I know a student whose parents convinced her that she would LOVE their alma mater ( a 4th tier commuter college) in another state where the parents met and fell in love.

    During the last half of senior year in high school, all her parents and the student could talk about was how excited they were that their child was going to their alma mater. They completely ignored the (MANY) comments that their D was not going to likely have the same experience as the parents did since she'd be living in a dorm while most of the campus commuted. Her parents have been commuters. They couldn't seem to understand that their D (a very social girl) would not like seeing an abandoned campus at night and on weekends.

    It was quite a sight to read the girl's Facebook posts during her first 3 weeks at the school. The comments started out happy, but by the 3rd week she had submitted a transfer to another school where she happily attends (unfortunately without the scholarship she would have gotten if she had gone as a first semester freshman.)

    How stubbornly naive the parents were to not be able to think beyond themselves and realize that their happy experience was because of an entirely different set of circumstances.
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Posts: 5,828Registered User Senior Member
    Interesting thread. Subscribing.
  • HugcheckHugcheck Posts: 1,029Registered User Senior Member
    I knew a family where the son went to UC Berkeley from an east coast state, and after one year came home because attending the local flagship state U. was basically a similar experience for lots less money, and home was close at hand when he wanted an escape. I suppose you could call this $$ but I think it was a case of better understanding what college is and isn't and basing further decisions on firmer data.

    I suppose choosing a college is somewhat like shooting in the dark. Once you've attended for a while, the light comes on and you can better assess what it is you've got. I believe strongly that kids have a giant reality check smack them when they get to school, and have to decide either consciously or unconsciously how to proceed based on their altered understanding of what college will and will not be. Some stay and adjust, some transfer, some quit, some few get just what they expected. Very few.
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