As a parent of a college student, you may be taken completely by surprise when your student comes home to announce that he wants to drop out of college. Or it is possible that you have seen this coming for a few weeks or even months. Either way, it may be difficult to believe or accept. So much effort and emotional energy went into the choice of college and the admissions process, that it doesn’t seem possible that your student could want to quit now. The reality is that, according to ACT (American College Testing) nearly 25% of students leave college before finishing their sophomore year.
So what should you, as a college parent, do if your student announces that she is ready to quit? First of all, take a deep breath. This was probably not an easy decision for your student and it was probably difficult for her to come to talk to you. She will be watching carefully for your response. This may be one of those opportunities in your student’s life when you can strengthen or weaken your communication and relationship with her. If necessary, ask for time to absorb the news before you talk. “This is an important decision and it’s taking me by surprise. Can you give me some time to think about this and can we talk tomorrow?” Don’t say anything right now that you may regret later or that will close a door.