(Washington, DC) It seems to be an obvious conclusion, but a new study confirms what has been a sort of conventional wisdom: most students who drop out of high school in the US believe that they made a mistake by quitting.
Three out of four respondent said that if they could go back in time they would choose to stay in school, while eight out of 10 participants in the survey said they now recognized that a diploma was a necessary ingredient to success.
Many of the dropouts interviewed were not problem students, and more than 6 out of ten had grade averages of C or better.
The study, conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, calls for additional tracking of high school dropouts, and advocates raising the legal dropout age to 18. Currently, many states have compulsory school attendance ages of 16 or 17. Ohio defines the compulsory school age as a range from 6-18, but contains loopholes for exemption.
A high school dropout earns about $9,200 less per year than a high school graduate. The same person earns about $1 million less over a lifetime than does a college graduate.
One of my biggest regrets in life was dropping out of college in the 1980s to go into business. While I learned a great deal as an independent business owner, I have little to show for my period of being an entrepreneur beyond knowledge and memories.
I am currently enrolled in a graduate program and weighing PhD options now, trying to make up for lost time. I often wonder where I might be had I stayed in school instead of being lured by the temptation of of owning my own business.