September 18, 2009 | Diane Johnson | 2 Comments Students that are most likely to succeed in college and work hard enough to get a degree have nothing to do with the high school they attended or the SAT score they received. Most likely, college graduates earned at least B's in high school. They also strove to attend the best college they could get into. Researchers have been studying educational records since 1999 and have discovered that 44 percent of undergrads are dropping out. This means America could be in danger of losing its competitiveness to other countries. High school grades are the biggest predictor of whether students will do well in college, according to studies. It doesn't matter how easy or difficult the grading system is at the college. It measures their ability to get their homework and projects done. This shows that they have the ability and stamina to complete a degree program. Another factor shows that many capable, intelligent students apply only to lower ranked colleges. In these schools, they tend to be above average and aren't really challenged. These are called the safe schools, and many students are far more likely to drop out than other brilliant students that got into higher ranked, challenging schools. For example, 58 percent of students that earn between a 3.0 and 3.3 GPA ended up graduating from college whereas, 47 percent of students graduated that earned below those marks. The more students learned motivation, good study habits, time management skills, and opposition, the more likely they were to complete a college degree. Students that have these skills and are bright should go to a four-year university. They may want to save money by going to a community college, but the dropout rates will be higher. If you can get into a good school, then that is where you should go for the entire four years. Plus, remaining at the same school for the entire four years saves many students because they don't lose credits when they transfer to a different school. Some colleges also have higher graduation rates than others. Generally, students that live on campus and are in honors courses are more likely to graduate because they are more involved and invested in their schooling. Some students that have not done well in school are students from low-income backgrounds. Even though there are tons of programs and scholarships that help these students go to school, they usually have lower chances of educational success. If they are the first in their families to go to college, they typically don't stay. Researchers have discovered that demographic factors like gender, race, parent education, and socioeconomic status play an important role in determining a student’s fate regardless of how smart or motivated the students is. Minorities and low income students are failing and dropping out at increasing rates, especially when they're compared with students with similar grades from other backgrounds. Unfortunately, wealth and family history do play a role in students’ chances of graduating. Wealthy undergrads are 11 percent more likely to earn degrees than comparable students from the poorest economic quartile. There needs to be increasing efforts to keep our students from dropping out of schools. The country is not getting enough highly educated workers, and the more people drop out the more likely their children will do the same. It’s an unfortunate, perpetuating cycle.