Next Steps for People Who Did Not Finish College

Next Steps for People Who Did Not Finish College

We are seeing quite a few adults in their 20’s who did not finish college. Many were unprepared for the rigor of college; others never found their “tribe” and a few enrolled to please their parents, not themselves. Now in the workplace, they struggle to find suitable jobs and weigh the heavy cost of finishing their original degree or starting over.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 62% of U.S. four-year college students complete their undergraduate educations within six years. One-third of college students do not finish. The drop-out rate is higher for community college students.

We advise these young adults to forgo returning to college until they first look inside. We ask them to consider:

  • What are your natural abilities, personality, values and interests? For example, many young adults think they might like software development as it pays well and is in demand. Yet for many, sitting behind a computer is tiring and unfulfilling.  Career aptitude testing can help answer these questions.
  • What job fields are growing?
  • What is a day on the job like? We recommend interviewing people in different jobs to learn how they spend their days. Better yet, job shadowing can give much insight into whether a job would be a good fit.
  • What are the new field’s educational requirements? Does it require a four-year degree or a certificate? How do you get a foot in the door?

Be patient: the journey is worth it, and remember that it’s never too late to find career happiness.” 

For many jobs, a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree is essential.  For others, a certificate or technical training are adequate. Increasingly, those classes are offered online. The trades – plumbing, electrician and carpentry – are always in demand and usually offer apprenticeships. 

In sum, if you have left college without a degree, selecting an educational program requires exploration, time and understanding yourself. We at Career Matters have extensive experience helping young adults like you, and would be happy to schedule a phone call to help you move forward.