US Student Drop Out Rate & Reasons Why Kids Drop Out of High School

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


The number of students who drop out of high schools before graduating in the US is very high, causing many education experts to wonder why the drop out rate is so high. Why do high school kids drop out of school? What are the reasons why students don’t feel motivated to graduate and earn their high school degree?

US Drop Out Rate: What Percentage/Number of High School Kids Graduate?

US Student Drop Out Rate & Reasons Why Kids Drop Out of High School While still high, the high school drop out rate in the US is actually lower than it has been in decades. In 2010, 78.2 percent of high school students graduated with their degree, the highest percentage to date since 1974. While a large number of high school kids do graduate (3,128,022 public school students, to be more exact) these improvements do not overshadow the fact that almost 1 out 4 students still drop out before graduation. Education experts cite a bad economy and lack of low-paying jobs as one of the main reasons why more kids stay in school, but what are the reasons why students still become high school dropouts?

Top Reasons Students Drop Out of High School

Why do kids drop out high school? What are the reasons why such a large number of student drop out? The Orlando Sentinel recently took a poll of high school dropouts and quizzed them as to why they drop out before earning their degree. The top reasons the high school dropouts to explain why they didn’t graduate were interesting, but also predictable at the same time. See the top reasons students drop out of high school below and some ways to improve the US dropout rate.

Why are students dropping out? “Classes not interesting”

When asked why they dropped out of high school, almost half the number of total dropouts included in the poll answered the question the same way: “The classes were not interesting.” At the end of the day, high school students need to be not only challenged, but also motivated to show up for class, complete their homework and study for tests in order to graduate and earn their degree. If kids don’t find their classes to be “interesting,” they won’t stick around.

Truancy: Reasons Why students drop out of high school: “Missed too many days already”

When asked why they dropped out, a high percentage of high school dropouts answered that they eventually dropped out of school because they had already missed so many days and were so far behind that they couldn’t catch up. High truancy rates usually lead to high dropout rates, so teachers need to come up with ways to motivate students to study and show up to class.

Why do kids drop out high school? Peer Pressure

42 percent of high school dropouts cited peer pressure as one of the main reasons why they didn’t graduate. When high school age kids hang out with other kids that aren’t interested in school, they become less interested in school because they want to fit in with their group of friends. This leads to a high dropout rate.

Why do kids drop out high school? Poor home life

Sadly, 38 percent of dropouts cited a poor home life with not enough rules and structure as the main reason why they didn’t earn their HS degree. While teachers and the US education system need to figure out ways to keep kids in school, parents and families also need to provide kids with a stable home environment with proper rules and structure.

Reasons students drop out of high school: Failing & Bad Grades

The last reason the US drop out rate is high and why HS students drop out is because their grades are poor and they are failing out. Failing out of school is probably a direct result of truancy, peer and home pressures, and just a general lack of interest in the curriculum taught in high school classes.

The high school dropout rate in the US may have improved in recent years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many improvements to be made that will motivate high school kids to graduate and start their future career off right and maybe even have the opportunity to ultimately attend college. High school dropouts have cited the reasons why they did not graduate, so it is the job of education professionals to help students stay in school and help the dropout rate go even lower!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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