Emotional Resiliency…

Can Prevent College Drop Out

by Christopher J. Leonard, LCSW, M.Ed

According to The National Center for Education Statistics , only 57% of students who began a 4-year college in the Fall of 2002 graduated within 6 years. What accounts for this alarming college dropout rate and what can be done about it? A big part of the answer lies in emotional resiliency.

A February 2011 study led by Michigan State University and funded by the  College Board, identified the critical events that are most likely to lead to dropout. The study, entitled A Detection Model of College Withdrawal found that depression was the critical event that was most likely to influence a dropout. Other significant events that led to dropout included an unexpected bad grade and roommate conflicts. It is noteworthy that 3 of the most salient reasons for college drop-out involve emotional resiliency, or the lack thereof.

In his 2007 report Redefining College Readiness, David Conley emphasizes that college requires skills that high school does not. Conley identifies four skill sets that are prerequisites for college success: cognitive strategies, academic skills and knowledge, academic behaviors and contextual skills and awareness. For a succinct explanation of Conley’s college readiness skills, see The Academic Behaviors Needed for College Readiness by special education writer Stephanie Torreno. Notably Ms. Torreno highlights self-awareness, self-monitoring and self-control as key skills a student needs for college success.

It is not surprising to find that qualities of emotional resiliency such as knowing your strengths and weaknesses, being able to monitor your own progress, knowing when you need to ask for help, and being able to exert self control and delay gratification are important elements of college readiness. These qualities of emotional resiliency are qualities Sage Day School instills and reinforces through our enriched therapeutic environment.

Christopher J. Leonard, LCSW, M.Ed. is the Director of Clinical and Educational Programs at Sage Day Schools as well as a Psychotherapist, Certified School Principal and Certified Group Psychotherapist. Chris can be reached at email or 201-723-6995.