Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Do Students Drop Out?

Anyone who has worked in college ministry has experienced the frustration of students starting to attend your ministry, then disappear. What happened?

9 Reasons Students Drop Out:

1. Survival needs have been met.
-Many come in the beginning looking for friends and somewhere to belong. They do not come out of a desire to be in a Chritian group or for worship and discipleship.

2. Do not become part of a group.
-no matter how strong their desire for Christian involvement, if they do not feel they have found personal friendships and connection, they likely will not stay.

3. Personality Clashes/Change of Friends
-just as relationships will hold them in a ministry, so will a clash in relationships run them out. They may also no longer feel close to the group they came with to the ministry.

4. Schedule becomes more complicated with work
-many students start out not working, but later add a job.

5. Feel they have done all the program has to offer
-some feel if they can do everything a ministry has to offer in one or two years, why stay?

6. Feel pulled between competing forces
-in some collegiate settings, a variety of churches or on campus ministries offer opportunities and students may drop one due to time or a feeling that they have been pushed to choose one over the other.

7. Differing Beliefs from Those Stated
-they may have become involved due to relationship or worship needs but come to perceive their beliefs and those expressed in the ministry are not compatible.

8. Strong Involvement Pattern Not Set
-some never quite get into a pattern or routine and simply disappear without meaning to. How students feel after dropping out goes a long way toward determining, if they ever come back. Were they missed or were they put down for not being there? Some never come back out of embarrassment.

9. Moral Failure
-Sometimes a student makes a choice so totally opposite their beliefs that their sense of guilt or failure drives them away from their Christian community.


  1. Sounds like these reasons keep you up at night like me... or did keep you up at night before these haunted me. Your list is right on. I would go on a limb and say that your second reason may be THE MOST important. I wrote a blog a couple months back called "What Determines Whether Students Will Connect: Just One Word" Unfortunately, my one word conclusion was wrong. If I could go back, i would change the word "acceptance", to "belonging" Students may feel accepted, but tend not to commit to ministry until they feel a sense of belonging..

    Twitter: @chadlogan