If you don't enjoy high school and dread attending classes each day, you might wonder what could be so bad about dropping out. There are many reasons why you should stay in school until graduation day. Weighing these advantages against the numerous disadvantages of not earning a diploma might motivate you to finish.
Most colleges and technical schools will not admit you without a high school diploma. If you hope to pursue a specific career, such as web developer, mental health counselor or financial consultant, higher education generally is a must. Compared to dropouts, those who completed their education with at least a high school credential have larger median incomes ($46,000 versus $25,000), lower unemployment rate, higher tax contribution, lower rate of criminal activity and a lower reliance on welfare. As a result, individuals with at least a high school credential can expect to earn $670,000 more in income over their lifetime than those who drop out.
Almost all jobs that pay more than minimum wage require a high school diploma. Without it, you're more likely to be stuck in jobs with lower pay and less chances of being promoted. According to the Center for Public Education, high school dropouts are less likely to receive health benefits and retirement plans from any job they are able to secure. With a high school diploma or a college or technical degree, you're more likely to land a job that provides a higher salary as well as health insurance and retirement benefits.
A high school diploma also offers more lifetime opportunities outside of the job sector. You're more likely to live above the poverty line, which means you'll be able to apply for loans to buy a home or pay for higher education. You won't be as likely to need public assistance, either. With a high school diploma, you're more likely to live in a neighborhood with a low crime rate and to stay out of trouble with the law yourself. In fact, high school graduates are six times less likely to be institutionalized than high school dropouts.
Graduating from high school will help boost your confidence and self-esteem. It also helps protect your physical health, because you're more likely to have access to medical care and have the funds to pay for it. When you graduate, you can act as a role model to younger siblings, relatives and friends, and that might encourage them to stay in school. Finishing high school gives you the chance to learn a variety of things. The more you learn, the more well-rounded you'll be. You'll also increase the odds of discovering something you're passionate enough about to dedicate your life to it.
- Center for Public Education: Keeping Kids in School -- What Research Tells Us About Preventing Dropouts
- National Center for Education Statistics: Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2012
- Northeastern University, Center for Labor Market Studies: The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School
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