Dropping out of high school is a serious epidemic in the United States. The website "Solutions for America" noted that nearly one-third of all high school students fail to graduate. For those students, a number of disadvantages in life and career opportunities are commonly experienced.
Not only do high school dropouts fail to earn a diploma, but they also inhibit their abilities to continue on with education in college. The most basic drawback of not having adequate education is that you don't have as much knowledge and training to succeed in adult life. This impacts your personal relationships, entrepreneurial options, employability and overall quality of life. You can earn a GED at some point, but this delays opportunities for continued learning at a young age.
An October 2009 report by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies noted that people without a diploma are less likely than graduated peers to find employment during the transformational period between late teens and early 20s. This lack of employment poses problems down the road as well since work experience gathered during these young adults years, combined with education, contributes to advancement in careers later in life.
High school dropouts only earn about 60 percent of what high school graduates earn in the labor market, according to Solutions for America. Additionally, they earn about 40 percent of what college degree holders earn. Along with these income deficiencies, many don't get jobs with full benefits and struggle to keep up with health costs themselves or become dependent on state-based health plans.
Dropping out presents a number of personal life challenges as well. Relationships with friends, family and significant others may suffer because of a dropout's limited education, knowledge and feelings of inadequacy. Additionally, dropouts have higher crime rates. This is especially noted in minority populations. The Northeastern study found that young black males experienced a 22 percent likelihood of winding up in jail after dropping out of high school, compared to a 6 to 7 percent prison rate for Hispanic, Asian and white dropouts. Furthermore, dropping out can have generational impacts in families. Children tend to fall into similar patterns as parents without significant efforts to break the mold.
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