With the arrival of September, millions of students across the country are settling in at their new college home as they begin the next exciting phase of their life. The question is: How many of them will still be there three years from now?
According to Niche.com, fewer than you’d expect.
Recently Niche, which provides students and their families with valuable information and "insight into big life decisions", gathered some statistics on current college enrollment (“Back to College by the Numbers”), comparing average costs and graduation rates for different types of schools. The findings were eye-opening to say the least.
According to Niche, currently there are just over 8 million students enrolled in four-year colleges across the country. The vast majority (46.7%) are enrolled in a four-year public school. The rest are enrolled in 4-year private non-profit (20.9%), two-year public (22.7%), four-year private for-profit (6.3%), two-year private for-profit (3.1%), and two-year private non-profit (0.3%) schools.
The average net annual price across the board is $16,910, with four-year public schools having the lowest average net price at $12,410; four-year private non-profits are the priciest, coming in at $23,540 per year on average.
Cost of tuition aside, the most disturbing part of Niche’s findings is the overall average graduation rate across all four-year colleges: just 59%. What this means is that barely half of all students who are beginning college this year will actually graduate.
Four-year public colleges appear to be the best option for students right now, with the lowest average net price and a higher graduation rate (58%) than their for-profit counterparts (32%).
That said, is 58% really good enough?
The good news is, regardless of what type of college/university you choose, there are things you can do to increase your chances of graduating (because it’s not a given—just look at the numbers above) within four years and saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars down the road.
Take time to know the real you. Identify your true skills, talents, and passions and then focus on them, taking advantage of all the resources at your disposal to grow and work towards a career that will enable you to use your natural abilities for the greater good.
Find a mentor. Identify someone early on — preferably one of your professors — who you connect with, who you admire, and who can help you achieve your goals. A good mentor will help keep you on track as you work your way through school, and they can help connect you with others who can help you get where you want to be.
Get active in your education. College has so many clubs, groups, and activities to take part in. Find something that you can be passionate about and give it your all. Staying active and engaged keeps you out of trouble and aligns you with others who understand what it takes to thrive in college.
As colleges continue to raise tuition and students graduate with increasing amounts of crippling debt, now more than ever it’s vital to understand what an investment college is and that it’s so important to take your time there seriously. If you’re just beginning college this fall, don’t be one of the 42% that won’t be getting their diploma four years from now. Enjoy this time. Make friends and have fun. Just remember what an incredible opportunity you have and be sure to make the most of it. ~