Chad Hartley was working as a paramedic while his wife was a teacher. This was a comfy life until his wife, Brittney Hartley, got pregnant and Chad decided he needed to go back to school after having taken some time off. Chad returned to school the week his son was born. This did not pan out well for Chad’s education.
“To work and have a wife and kids and try to force your brain to care about abstract principles of chemistry was too difficult. He dropped out and never went back to school and probably never will,” Brittney Hartley said.
James Anderson, associate vice president of Enrollment Services, explained each situation is unique but most of the time, taking time off from school hinders graduation rates.
“It depends, everybody’s situation is unique. By and large we encourage students to keep pursuing their education and move forward,” Anderson said. “When students take time off often times other priorities creep in and they don’t reengage with the university like they had planned to at the time they had separated from the university.”
Brittney explained it was simply too difficult to focus on school while trying to raise a family. What matters most changes when not faced with school every day.
“Sometimes a family puts pressure on your right away to further your career so school is best done when you can focus on you and put your heart into it. Probably not your typical BSU story but that’s our story and I’m sticking to it,” Brittney Hartley said.
Anderson admits sometimes taking time off from school is beneficial for the student.
“However there are extenuating circumstances when taking time off to get some financial or family affairs in order is necessary and is in the best interest of the student,”Anderson said.
Anderson highlighted why students taking time off is a concern at Boise State.
“Our data shows higher enrollment in the fall, less enrollment in the spring,” Anderson said. “These students take longer to complete their degree and often incur more debt and struggle more.”
Anderson encourages students who may be struggling or considering taking a semester off to seek help and advice.
“We have services available, but we require the student to initiate that and let us know they are struggling,” Anderson said. “If a student comes into any one of our departments and asks for help, each one of our folks would be more than willing to help them.”
Students can turn to Academic Affairs, Academic Advising or the Office of the Dean of Students for help when making decisions regarding taking time off.