Should I drop out of college or finish?

Hi everyone!

I am struggling deciding what to do:

I am an incoming third year student at a Cal State university. I am absolutely unhappy there, and i knew i would be unhappy since I entered the campus for the first time. I have struggled making connections as well as having a clean transcript. I have a W, two D’s (I retook one of the classes I got a D on), and a C- on my transcript so far.

I think of dropping out to start all over and get my life together by attending community college… I’m afraid that if I choose to drop out, 1. It won’t be worth it and 2. when I apply to four year universities, they will see my transcript of when I attended my college. At the same time, I feel that I shouldn’t drop out, just get it over with, and just graduate so I can get out LMAO

My family knows I am not happy at where I’m at, but I never discussed dropping out with them before. I want to make sure I am making the right decision :’)… advice/insight is appreciated! :slight_smile:

There’s a third option…transfer to a different 4 year school where you think you might be happier. What CSU are you at and what don’t you like thus far?

Others may be able to help you better if you describe:

  • What you do not like about your current college.
  • College major, college GPA, amount of college credit completed.

I applied to only one school and did not get in. It’s a very competitive school, so it is my mistake for not applying to other schools /: I go to the Pomona campus, and I feel I am just not getting the social aspects of college there. I go to many events and club meetings, but (this sounds dumb as I’m writing this) for some odd reason I do not feel comfortable… or I guess feel like I fit in with the people.

edit: I know that college is meant for studying and getting my degree LOL but I at least want to have fun, memorable college experiences. I don’t want to look back one day and regret only studying in college.

I addressed the first bullet below. In terms of major, I am a marketing major. My CPP GPA is 3.38 and my overall is 3.42 (my transfer GPA is a 4.0). I have 55 credits and I am in the middle of earning 3 credits. Hope this helps!

You can also leave school, work, and take classes through the many degree completion/continuing education programs in the country. You can take two classes at a time and still qualify for financial aid. In other words, this is not a binary situation of leave or stay. You have other options.

I am not sure if community college would be helpful since you are almost done with credits for two years. Would it work to do community college to regain the previous GPA and then transfer to a UC or another Cal state? (Your overall GPA is not bad at all.)

I have to ask how much of a factor COVID has been for you in your unhappiness and your academic struggles. Many young people and parents are posting similar stories and it seems COVID restrictions as well as virtual learning do play a role. Maybe you could try attending without those restrictions if still possible in the fall.

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Definitely finish. There comes a point when the goal is to just get the degree and move on with life. The pandemic messed up everyone’s life (and some lost their life), but for you, it seems that the best idea would be to move towards getting the degree asap and moving on with life.

Your complaint seems to be that you’re not having the social experience of college, not having fun. No one had that over the last 15 months. Do you think that your school could be better in September, when it’s likely that things will be back to normal? Is another school that you could transfer to, where you would have that? Can you do it without losing credits towards graduation, and graduate in the same time period?


I definitely agree with @parentologist. It’s only two years in a hopefully long life (you’ll appreciate what I’ve just said more when you’re middle aged) and, more importantly, you will never have to think back and wished you had finished college.

If you do carry on, try to make the best of it. I ended up going to a college that was my absolute least favorite but personal circumstances left me no choice in the matter. After being despondent for a bit, I decided to make the best of it (by getting active in a student club, taking classes that interested me, etc.) and it was a positive experience overall (of course, there were ups and downs during those 4 years, including a disastrous 2nd semester of sophomore year).

Good luck and all the best!

Adjusting to College is Hard and certainly COVD has had a MAJOR impact in getting students adjusted to college life. Have you spoken with the counseling center at your school? It might be helpful for you to talk about the feelings you are having with someone that can give you some advice on coping with some of the issues you are facing. Don’t just grind through and hope it will get better, there are lots of students in the same boat as you. Best of luck

College is the time you learn to make your way and to deal with things like independence, loneliness and rejection on your own. Those types of things will not change magically at another school.

No doubt, as others have said, COVID has made the transition brutally hard. Seek out the school counselors, learn to meditate, exercise regularly, and put yourself out there with the understanding and expectation that it won’t be easy or always fruitful.

Good luck!

Overall college GPA of 3.42 should be within transfer admission range for many schools. However, UCs and CSUs mostly want transfer students to have completed 60 credits before transfer. A few CSUs may admit lower division transfers with fewer than 60 credits (but high school records also come into play in that case).

Application Dates & Deadlines | CSU currently says the following:

  • The only CSUs currently accepting applications for fall 2021 lower division transfer are Maritime, Sacramento, and San Francisco, but only Maritime has the business major open (and it is specialized for the shipping industry).
  • Some CSUs are currently accepting applications for spring 2022 upper division transfer (you need to take enough courses in the fall to get over 60 credits, either at your current school or a community college). Of these, Chico, Humboldt, and San Marcos have the business major open, and San Diego has an online-only business major open.

Beyond the above, you could apply as an upper division transfer for fall 2022 to a much wider range of UCs and CSUs. However, this would likely result in additional calendar time delay to graduation.

However, the social aspects of various campuses vary. Note that most CSUs have a large population of commuters, so the on-campus social life may not be as big as at most of the UCs. However, some CSUs have a larger resident student population (or did pre-COVID-19), like Chico, Humboldt, Maritime, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma.

Cal Poly Pomona’s fall 2021 plans are described at Return to Campus Checklist for Students

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As a rising junior with almost 60 credits, there’s not really much point in community college anymore - you’ve probably met all or most of your lower-division requirements by now, and CC’s don’t offer upper-division classes.

Do you like your major? Have you met with an advisor and mapped out what you still have left to do?

One possibility to explore would be studying abroad. CPP has exchange agreements with several overseas universities. For example, you could take classes in your major at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, for a semester or a full year, although it’s too late to apply for this coming fall. If that appeals, you could look into how much of your remaining coursework you would have to take in residence at CPP, vs. how much you could do abroad. This would at least gain you a whole new experience, without significant additional costs or having to transfer altogether.

If you do think you want to transfer, ucbalumnus has summed up your options well. Chico is known for its lively social scene, so maybe that would appeal.

There are various ways to combine all of these options. For example, you could take the fall semester off, get some work experience (possibly taking one remote class to get to 60 credits)… apply to study abroad for the spring through CPP, and also apply to other CSU’s (and maybe UCR - not sure what GPA a non-CCC transfer needs there) to start as a junior transfer in the fall.

Whatever you do, it makes sense to finish your degree one way or another. Figure out what will best sweeten the deal, so that you can push through and get that done!

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That’s what I am thinking :sweat_smile: I mean I have a few more years (I believe I am likely not to graduate in 2023… I guess CPP likes to make us take tons of major related classes. It’s also pretty difficult to be enrolled in the classes I need to take) I think I should just study hard to get my degree regardless of how I feel

I appreciate the information you provided for me! I am considering applying to another CSU for fall 2022 upper division (I emailed the school, and they said it’s okay for me to apply for that term) but most of the classes I took are not comparable… the city that CSU is in is really pretty.

A lot of the CSUs are underrated. I particularly think Humbolt is undeservedly well off the radar.

Don’t neglect your own mental health no matter where you land. We don’t come from the factory with owners manuals to help us deal with these types of issues. Don’t stuff your feelings and try to brute force your way through. It could work, but it very well could get worse. There are pros out there specifically for that.

Best of luck!

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If the plan to make Humboldt the third Cal Poly campus goes forward (which it appears that it will), that should put it much more on the radar over the next few years.

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You could also see what you could do to accelerate graduation. It was very easy for me to graduate a half a year early with no AP or DE Credit. The only reason I couldn’t graduate a full year early was I had one required class only offered first semester.

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Even at really social schools like SDSU and Chico, Covid put a real damper on the student experience. Since your complaint about CPP is primarily the social scene - which will be dramatically different with things reopening in the Fall, I’d suggest you head back and give it another shot. It will never be UCSB but, the fun quotient will certainly improve as clubs, fraternities, live music, etc begin to resurface.

There’s certainly no harm in applying elsewhere and seeing how it plays out.

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You’re actually doing great. The glamourous image of college parties and fun is mostly an illusion. College is stressful and dull and most people don’t really have a social life, because they have tests and term papers. The students partying are the ones on academic probation. It only gets worse from there when you get into the professional world. Real life is like that. If you think your grades are slipping now, imagine what your grades would be like if you were hanging around the party kids!

You have two years left, keep it up. It may help to go to the student health center and see a counselor. I suspect COVID isolation may be part of the problem. You’re NOT alone, I promise.