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  • Staff Writer

Should My Student Try College Again?

If your student attempted to go to college, dropped out, and moved back home, you are not alone. Many students struggle to stay in college, and for some, it isn't the right fit. However, simply because going to college didn't work for your student the first time, doesn't mean they shouldn't try it again. Ultimately, going to college has many benefits. While it is not the right fit for all young adults, when your student is ready, it is worth working with them to choose the path that feels like the right choice for them and consider how individualized support could help them succeed this time around.

Reasons College Doesn't Always Work

The reason college didn't work out the first time around for your student is a unique combination of factors. However, due to the challenging transition that comes with going to college, it is possible that your student felt unprepared to be successful in living more independently and in the academic setting. The lack of support that comes with this transition may have come as a shock for your student. While you likely helped prepare them, their health may also have influenced their ability to be successful and stay in school.


If your student went off to school and felt unprepared, that is okay. It is common for college students to have this experience. Depending on the high school your student attended, academics in college are often very different. There is frequently more rigorous coursework that involves more independent studying, homework, and effort in class.

Additionally, their living situation in college was likely significantly more independent than living at home. While living in a dorm is not fully independent, your student was responsible for making sure they ate meals, did their laundry, and more. These tasks aren't difficult but can be overwhelming for your young adult.

Lack of Support

When your student went away to college, they were thrown into very different living and academic situations. These changes required that they managed their schedule, took care of their own health needs, and kept on track with school. When compared to high school, where they had you and their high school teachers to help, they had significantly less support.

While you, as a parent, tried to support them, the structure itself provides less support. In college, your student needs to get their homework done without a reminder. Additionally, they have to choose their path forward by picking classes and a major. Many resources exist to provide support for your student. However, in college, your student might not have known how to set it up or access it.

Mental Health

When taking the first steps into adulthood and going away to school, your student's mental health plays an important role. Research shows that students' mental health impacts their ability to be successful in school. If your student was struggling with their mental health, they may have lacked motivation, focus, and the necessary skills to keep up with their school work.

Additionally, if your student struggles with a mental health disorder, they will have specific challenges. However, overall mental health also makes a difference. Therefore, getting your student help managing their mental health can make a difference if they decide to try again.

College Is Not Always the Answer

A common path for high school students is to go to college. However, just because it is considered normal does not mean it is the right choice for your student. Depending on your student's interest, college may not provide them with the skills or certification that they need to be successful in that field. For example, if your student is interested in trades like boat building, metal work, or plumbing, college does not always help. These trades require experience and education that is specific to the skills necessary to succeed in the trade itself. However, working with your student to help them discover the right path for them can help to identify their next steps.

Getting Support When College Is the Best Path

If your student has decided that college is the right path for them, it can be different this time around. As a parent, you can help them work through the challenges they had. The first step is to identify what aspects of college didn't work. This might include considering their living situation, the college, or how much support and structure they had.

Getting your student more support and care when they return to college will make a significant difference. This might include working with an education coach, life coach, or therapist. All of these professionals can help your student by providing outside support. In working with a support system, your student will be able to address challenges as they arise and learn skills that will help them to stay in school and be successful this time around.

Many students attempt to go to college, fail, and end up back at home. While this is common, it can be challenging to figure out the next steps. At Northwest College Support, we understand that this transitional point in your student's life is hard for them and you as a parent. This is why we offer programs that help provide support for both you and your student. Our programs are designed to help your student uncover their next steps, whether it is college or not, and learn the necessary skills to make these steps and smoothly transition into adulthood. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (877) 485-2776.

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