Pursuing a degree is a commitment that requires an investment of time, energy, and money. Sometimes, the juggling act just doesn’t seem worth it. If you’ve ever thought about quitting school, or are perhaps thinking about it right now, remember why you chose higher education in the first place. Keep persisting — you have personal and professional aspirations that are worth fulfilling! Read on for some of the best strategies and tips to prevent college dropout.
The Facts Behind College Dropout
If you’re struggling to stay in school, know that you’re not alone. In colleges and universities across America, as many as 2 in 5 undergraduates drop out of school before reaching the finish line. This phenomenon most often affects non-white and socially marginalized students, who tend to drop out of degree programs at higher rates. Over half of the students who drop out do so because of personal struggles, family issues, or financial difficulties.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best tips and strategies for overcoming these obstacles, getting your degree, and making it to the finish line. You deserve to achieve your dreams — let’s make it happen!
Goodwin tip: At Goodwin, higher education is more affordable than you think. Our Financial Aid department will help find the personalized aid package that’s right for you. We offer a variety of scholarships, grants, work-study opportunities, and student loans. Students also have free access to Inceptia, a financial planning tool that helps with budgeting, student aid, and more. Learn more about Goodwin’s Financial Aid services!
Strategy #1: Step up Your Self-Care
When you’re swept up in the responsibilities of school and daily living, it can be easy to neglect one of your most important assets — you!
Make sure your physical, mental, and emotional needs are being met. Here are a few tips for keeping up with self-care.
Self-care tip: Nourish your body and brain.
Do your best to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides you with the nutrients and energy you need to feel your best. Aside from helping your body, nutritious foods help your mind. Healthy eating can improve the effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. There are similar links between exercise and mental health. Regular movement can reduce depression, mitigate stress and anxiety, and help you get a better night’s sleep.
Goodwin tip: Healthy eating is for everyone — no one’s financial situation should prevent them from accessing nutritious food. That’s why Goodwin is home to the Ann B. Clark Co-Op. Located conveniently on the Goodwin campus, the co-op offers a selection of non-perishable and fresh food items, as well as toiletries, clothes, diapers, and other basics. Use of the co-op is available to Goodwin students, employees, and Goodwin magnet school families. Learn more about the Ann B. Clark Co-Op!
Self-care tip: Sleep on it.
At its best, sleep is deeply restorative — it is the physical recharge your body needs to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Yet when it comes to sleep, we often fail to afford ourselves the high-quality rest we need to thrive. When we’re overwhelmed by personal, professional, and academic responsibilities, it can be easy to cut corners from your nightly slumber to get everything done.
While it may be difficult to avoid a little lost sleep every now and then, we don’t recommend making it a habit. Aside from supporting your physical health, sleep can aid your mental health by improving your mood, increasing your focus, improving your memory, and more.
Self-care tip: Take time to yourself.
Many things inform your sense of identity. Consequently, it becomes easy to get caught up in our roles as students, parents, partners, or professionals. While it is important to maintain a balance between these roles, it is also important to take some time out to connect with yourself. These roles all define your relationship with the world around you, but your most important relationship is that with yourself. By investing in your hobbies, passions, and interests, you take the time to reground, reconnect, and check in with yourself. Moreover, pursuing hobbies is a hidden key to reducing the effects of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Goodwin tip: Know thyself. If you’re finding that your degree program isn’t right for you, or if you’re unsure what career path to take after graduating, don’t panic. At Goodwin, we offer free and comprehensive Career Services to current students and alumni. Learn more about Career Services at Goodwin!
Strategy #2: Keep Your Mellow with Mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a buzzword over the years. There is a simple, sage wisdom to it — avoid stress and anxiety about the past or future by focusing on the here and now. Sure, it’s good to keep sight of your long-term goals. But you can’t achieve your long-term goals right now. Instead of stressing out over them, stop and consider the present moment.
Studies show that a little mindfulness goes a long way. Aside from reducing stress, improving your sleep, and lowering your blood pressure, mindfulness can help manage anxiety, depression, chronic pain, substance abuse disorders, and more. It’s even incorporated into many cancer patients’ treatment plans.
Mindfulness tip: Define your practice by what’s best for you.
The best thing about this restorative strategy is its flexibility — practicing mindfulness doesn’t necessarily have to look the same for everyone. Maybe you ground yourself in the moment with yoga and meditation, or perhaps you hit refresh by taking a long walk around the block. Regardless of how you practice mindfulness, its effects will surely nourish your mind and body — helping you recharge and stay motivated.
Goodwin tip: Even if your schedule is getting hectic, dropping out of school isn’t always the best solution. First, consider your options. Depending on your program, you may be able to adjust your schedule. At Goodwin, we do our best to provide program flexibility, with full-time, part-time, on-campus, online, and hybrid options available! Learn more about program flexibility at Goodwin University!
Strategy #3: Connect with your Community
Whether you’re struggling with your schedule, finances, or mental health, it’s undeniably more difficult to go it alone — yet many students do. When you’re overwhelmed or depressed, it may be easy to forego spending precious time with your family, friends, and loved ones. But before you deny yourself time to connect with others, consider this — a healthy dose of socialization might be just what your body needs to hit the reset button and destress.
Many mental and emotional health benefits have been linked to maintaining an active social life. Frequently taking the time to connect with others can reduce depression, decrease your stress levels, and boost your self-esteem. Furthermore, a healthy social life has been proven to support your physical well-being, too. By socializing regularly, you can sharpen your memory, improve your cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system.
Connection tip: Don’t ruminate, self-advocate.
When you ruminate, you mentally replay any events, thoughts, or worries that are causing you distress. Everyone does this sometimes, but when it occupies too much of your mental energy, it can become a major issue. Ruminating too often can give way to a dizzying cycle of negative thinking, which, in turn, can lead to anxiety, depression, and eating or substance abuse disorders. If you’re struggling with your mental health, make seeking help a priority.
Goodwin tip: When it comes to pursuing mental health care, affordability is often the greatest barrier. At Goodwin, we’ll help you receive the compassionate mental health care you deserve. Current students can receive on-campus counseling services free of charge. Learn more about our Counseling Services!
Connection tip: Your school is here for you!
Aside from earning your degree and advancing your future, going to college is a great way to build social and professional relationships. Don’t be afraid to reach out to classmates, especially if you feel like you’re struggling to stay afloat. The other students in your program can make excellent friends or study partners (doubly so if you’re learning in a cohort).
Likewise, if you’re struggling with school, your professors are willing to provide guidance and support. They’re not only experts in their fields, but experienced college instructors, too. Your professors can provide you with insight and ideas to help navigate higher education.
Goodwin tip: Goodwin University is dedicated to your academic growth and success. That’s why the Academic Success Center offers academic assistance, tutoring, and more. Learn more about how our Academic Support Services can help you!
Get to the Finish Line the Goodwin Way
We’re dedicated to student success. That’s why, at Goodwin, you’ll always come first.
Learn more about how Goodwin can support your academic success, or call 800-889-3282