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kayysamm's avatar

What is your thought of high school drop outs ?

Asked by kayysamm (435points) April 22nd, 2009

I have a few friends who are high school drop outs and most have gotten their GED and have jobs now.

I have a job now and have wanted to drop out for the longest time but I haven’t yet.
What is your opinion on high school drop outs ?

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36 Answers

Judi's avatar

Its hard to go back, but it’s possible. I wish I would have finished HS the normal way. When I tried to go to college I had a really hard time because I didn’t have any very good study skills. Now that I’m almost 50, I wonder how things might have been different. I spent the last 30 years working my way up to making the money I would have made in 4 if I would have just stayed in school and got that degree.

knitfroggy's avatar

Why make it that far and then drop out? I’m sure that dropping out and working more hours sounds like a good idea, but really…real life sucks sometimes and don’t start it earlier than you have to! You have plenty of time later to work and make money. Finish school and try to enjoy it.

casheroo's avatar

Dropping out just because you have a part time job, is a very very bad idea.

I’m a high school dropout, although I don’t really identify myself as such, since it never comes up. Even in interviews, no one asks about high school. I received my GED within 3 months of dropping out, and started community college the year that would have been my senior year of high school. I was also working full time, because that was a requirement for me to drop out (I thought it was a state requirement, my parents may have lied to me haha)
It was very hard work, and I cried a lot because I wish I had stayed in school, even if it meant repeating a grade because of prior mistakes.
Dropping out is not glamorous, and doesn’t make you an adult sooner. It just means you’ll be working longer, and harder than anyone else because you always have to prove yourself. People will judge you right off the bat.
I tend not to judge, but usually people have a good reason for dropping out. You have’t provided one, so I think it would be extremely dumb of you to drop out.

Amoebic's avatar

To each their own.
but I agree with casheroo, dropping out for some job isn’t something I consider to be a good idea.

cookieman's avatar

Seems ill advised.

If you don’t graduate high school and don’t graduate college (or a trade school) there’s a better than average chance that whatever job you’ll have in ten years will look a lot like the job you have now.

You have to decide if that’s OK with you.

Poser's avatar

You’d be cheating yourself out of a lot. You’ll regret it later. Finishing high school, going to college—these are milestones. You can’t imagine it now, but walking across that stage with a funny-looking square hat will be a big experience. Tough it out.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Don’t do it. I know, as my story is similar to casheroos, except I went straight into the work force, and never went to college. I didn’t drop out; I simply didn’t have enough credits to graduate, and didn’t apply myself in school. I had plenty of other issues that made school a real pain in the ass, but I regret not graduating now. That was 30 years ago. Get that diploma, its worth it.

Dropping out will come back to haunt you in the future, in more ways than you can imagine. and while I’m handing out advice, don’t do drugs either. While smoking pot (or doing anything else in that category) seems harmless enough, it is a waste of time and energy, and will cost you in the long run. I wish I never started that filthy drug habit, and I have been much happier since I quit. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is harmless, because I know from experience that it isn’t.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

to each their own, I suppose. I know a few dropouts, none of them went to college, most work mediocre jobs at best.

Darwin's avatar

Our town has one of the highest drop out rates in our state. Many of my lower level co-workers (when I had a “real” job) were high school drop outs. They worked for minimum wage and sometimes worked more than one job. Many of them also got the free turkey at Thanksgiving because their income was so low.

The only advantage they had over other drop outs was that we were all were working for a city government and so had medical insurance and pension plans and so on. At minimum wage most folks can’t afford insurance if it is not provided by the employer and so end up on Medicaid or CHIP or sitting for hours at the free clinic.

I also know an incredible number of people who are finally getting a college degree at the same time their children are getting theirs because they dropped out and their kids didn’t. It is very, very easy for life to sidetrack you, because eating, paying rent and raising kids will suck up all your time and energy, leaving nothing left over for school.

Getting your GED may sound like a good idea, and it is certainly better than not having it or a diploma, but a diploma is more highly valued. At the moment, for example, the Navy will not take people who habe a GED, only those with a diploma. The Army will accept folks with a GED, however, so hopefully people who drop out love to march and spend time in the Middle East.

Even doing stuff like driving a bulldozer requires certification these days, and in our town you get that at junior college or a trade school, for which you need either the diploma or a GED.

While it seems to be a pain and to take forever to hang in there for the diploma. As others here have said, without the diploma, the type of job you have now will look a lot like the job you will have thirty years from now. If you have any other hopes or dreams, the diploma would be the best way to achieve them.

By the way, public high school is free, but GED courses are not.

Stay the course. It will be worth it.

galileogirl's avatar

At one time I hired people for entry level jobs and if I had to choose between someone with a high-school diploma and someone with a GED, I usually went for the diploma. My reasoning-the person who stuck it out and earned the diploma was more likely to stick it out on the job.

Now I teach high school and this time of the year gets to be very frustrating. In the last 18 weeks before graduation 5–10% of my seniors are making very bad decisions. I don’t care what kind of personal problems one has, throwing out 12 years of work in the last 4 months is ridiculous. One student, a very bright girl who has been with me since 9th grade was suspended this week for smoking pot in school. Bye, bye graduation, bye bye private college scholarship. Dropping out or getting kicked out will effect students’ lives forever. Sure you can come back but the majority don’t. And even if you do, you’ve lost time and opportunities that might have given you a better life.

I assign the book “Nickled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich to my students, It shows what life is like past the age of 25 for hs dropouts in America.

cwilbur's avatar

I think they’re incredibly short-sighted.

The high school diploma or GED is an absolute necessity for many jobs. Yes, there are jobs you can get with no high school diploma, but they tend not to be the best ones. Yes, you can start your own business, and if you’re successful, nobody will care that you don’t have the diploma—but at the same time, until you’re successful, you’ll have a tough time getting loans or closing deals when people find out you’re a high school dropout.

And yes, if you drop out of high school you can always get a GED. But that’s extra work—when it’s so easy to go along to get along and finish high school, why sign up for the extra work and extra cost of getting a GED later?

Sure, you’re making money now. But odds are good it’s not enough to live on unless you’ve got parents paying your rent and utilities. Do you want to put yourself in a position where you have no choice but to depend on your parents indefinitely?

dynamicduo's avatar

I think if you have any realistic chance of getting your diploma in the next two years, stick with it and get it.

The money you’re making now is honestly peanuts and won’t help you in the long run compared to the advantage of getting your diploma while you are still in school now. And dropping now to do your GED is not a great plan, since you have to pay for the GED tests/transportation to get there/the study guide, versus simply doing the last year of school.

A diploma or a GED, you should have one or the other, never pick neither, it will only hinder you in life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

don’t quit….you know why? because high school and college aren’t only good for getting jobs later…they’re experiences that are important in life for your personal growth, even if you never use your degree, you’ll be better off…so unless you plan on learning loads some other way, remember that having a job isn’t all that’s life’s about

cookieman's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Excellent point. The exposure to different people (cultures), ideas, etc. alone is well worth going to college.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cprevite absolutely…so much of my high school and college and grad school years were not about academics…i utilized many opportunities these places had to offer…i studied abroad multiple times, i was in a million clubs, i learned invaluable life skills, made best friends, etc.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Dropping out of high school is not a good idea. Today, the high school diploma is like finishing middle school. It’s a necessity. A bachelor’s degree is the “high school diploma” of 20–30 years ago.

The jobs your friends have now may appear to be good jobs, but as time goes on, their trajectory into better jobs with more pay isn’t very good, to be frank, unless they learn better skills. That said, the typical 4–5 year university experience isn’t for everyone. I wish the US were more like Europe where there’s an assessment done at 11 or 12 and kids can go into more of what interests them, be it vocational or academic. There should be alternatives.

There was no way I wasn’t going to graduate high school. I went to college because it was expected that I go, and it was important as a person originally from a low socio-economic class to have that degree to vet me. No one would’ve taken me seriously in the film/TV industry without that piece of paper (and the internship on the big TV show, which one can only get if they’re attending an accredited college), sad to say.

A GED isn’t quite the same, but it’s better than nothing. Stay and finish high school. This part of your life will be a distant memory soon enough, believe me.

Judi's avatar

My son dropped put with 2 classes left. He eventually got his GED but he kicks himself for not just finishing. I think it still effects his self esteem. (He’s almost 25 now.)

DREW_R's avatar

Do the time. It is worth it in the long run.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i don’t generalize high school dropouts, as a lot of them do have situations that make dropping out an option they really do need to weigh. dropping out just because you don’t want to deal with high school – i think it’s dumb. i don’t think the people who do it are dumb, but i think that living out those last 4 years is doable. unless you really honestly can’t handle it, stick it out and get through. most people who drop out regret it, GED or not.

i don’t have any lack of respect for someone who does drop out but takes responsibility for themselves though. it’s their lives. no one should be forced to go to high school. if they don’t want to do it, it’s a waste of time for everyone involved, especially if they show that they really don’t want to do it.

cwilbur's avatar

Something to note: as stupid and pointless as high school is, it’s an excellent place for learning how to deal with stupid and pointless without having too many consequences for dealing with it poorly. This is not something that can be said about the stupid and pointless aspects of an office job, for instance.

elijah's avatar

I know a lot of people who dropped out. Out of the 6 I can think of off the top of my head, only one had a legitimate reason. Her mother was sick, she had to work and be with her mom. The rest were just too lazy to get up on time or show up to class, too cool for school (haha Zoolander), pot heads, or hung out with other kids who dropped out.

My brother dropped out, and our younger brother (who graduated) makes more money than him. They work at the same company, started in the same position, started at the same salary.

Showing you’re adult enough to finish something as easy as high school makes a difference to employers. I got pregnant my junior year, took one year off, and still went back. If I could finish high school with a baby I can’t see why you can’t finish high school with a part time job.

At some point you might have children. You will want them to finish high school. What will you tell them? Unless you have a good reason, please don’t drop out. You will regret it.

DREW_R's avatar

@elijahsuicide Hey I almost resemble that remark! I was a pothead but I graduated with flying colors. Class of ‘81. ;)

elijah's avatar

@DREW_R Yeah, I’m not implying that all pot heads are drop outs, I’m saying the majority of drop outs I know were pot heads.

galileogirl's avatar

@cwilbur Every job has stupid and pointless aspects, lol, but a successful HS education gives you the skills to play the system and find ways to bypass the most pointless things. I am famous for avoiding faculty meetings.

cwilbur's avatar

@galileogirl: Exactly! And if you do stupid things in your early attempts to play the system, high school is forgiving. If the first system you try to play is your office job, and you do stupid things, it’s far less forgiving.

wundayatta's avatar

I know very few, if any high school dropouts in my social circle. It’s hard to imagine not being able to get through high school, nor to remain unchallenged by it. Surely there are AP courses? Calculus? Something tough. It ought to give you enough challenges to stick around.

You may want to take a gander at this table which shows income by education. In the most recent year for which they have data, completing high school meant a $6000 per year increase in salary (from 21K to 27k). A little college raised median income to 31K. Up at the higher levels of education (Professional Degrees or Doctorate) the median income is in the 70 to76K range.

If you don’t really care about your standard of living, drop out. If you do care, get as much education as you can possibly afford. Each additional year of education after high school is worth around $8 to $9K in annual salary. Even if you only work for thirty years, completing college will earn you some $600,000 more than if you only complete high school. Getting a doctorate earns you will be worth around 1.3 million to you. These figures are plenty to make it worth taking out loans for school, even if you have to borrow $120,000.

Judi's avatar

@daloon ; surely you can understand how the social pressure can be so overwhelming that you just want to run away. I spent 2 months in my high school without speaking a word to anyone. I felt invisible and paranoid all at the same time. It was miserable.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi. I can understand. I was in high school, too. I experienced what, up until last year, had been the most miserable time in my life.

I hope kids these days can understand what they are doing to their lives when they do drop out. All is not lost, though. You can get a GED and go on to college. If that’s happening, it’s all right, although I think it is probably a more difficult road.

Darwin's avatar

@Judi – I was never exactly gregarious in high school, and I could count the number of “friends” I had in high school on one hand (in all three high schools I attended combined, actually). In fact, I spent my entire senior year in one high school not speaking a word to anyone, and I was even spit on and shot at (they hit me in the leg with a .22). But I refused to let them run me off from my free public education.

Yes, it was miserable and then some, but I showed them! I went all the way through graduate school.

My sister couldn’t face it and got her GED simply so she could go on to college a year early. But neither one of us dropped out.

DrBill's avatar

As an employer, I can tell you HS Grads are hired and promoted over GED’s every time.

Darwin's avatar

@DrBill – Unless they have gone on to college and obtained a Doctorate or a professional degree. By then the GED is pretty much overlooked.

DrBill's avatar


I would agree, I was referring to those who went no farther than HS

sebulba23's avatar

I think its a stupid decision to drop out of high school, but then again we need people to do jobs most people wouldn’t want to do, so this is one way of accomplishing that. If everyone succeeded in education, who would do the jobs that don’t require much of it? Everyone would feel a sense of entitlement to do something better, but that just isn’t the case.

DrBill's avatar

The reason it is lonely at the top is because it is so crowded at the bottom.

Mrs_Hill91's avatar

im 17 and a senior in high school…..if you have a job thats good but if you’re going to drop out at least get your GED so you can have a better future

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