“How old do I have to be to drop out of school?”

Published on
Updated on
Use a read speaker Print a document

This question was submitted to Kids Help Phone by a young person and answered by one of our professional counsellors.


Hello kids help phone, i was wondering how old i have to be to be able to drop out of school? im pretty sure its 16, though im not certain. I know its a big decision, but i really dont have the time for school, work, and a baby and its really putting a strain on me. Which leads me to a question, can a high school drop-out still have a successful job in the future? No one in my life is helping me, so i need to make my own, better choices. and that means dropping out of school. Thanks


I can see that you chose the exhausted emoticon, indicated how you feel with so much going on in your life and so many big and important decisions to make for yourself. I imagine it must all feel really overwhelming and scary for you! To answer your question, you’re correct, at the age of 16, you can legally chose to drop out of school in the Province you indicate you’re living in (it’s not the same age in every Province). From what I’m understanding, you have so much going on in your life right now, but with no support or help This concerns me for you. I get the sense that you feel you’re having to go through all of this alone, which must cause you to feel so isolated and scared. I’d like you to know that you don’t have to be going through this alone, there are professional agencies and people in your community who can offer you support and guidance, but you need to be able to connect with them in order to receive their help. I’d like to suggest that you give us a call so that we can assist you in exploring where you can find further help within your community. It can also be comforting to speak directly with a counsellor and have a chance to express your thoughts and feelings. We’re always here, you don’t ever have to be alone, so please, consider giving us a call! 1-800-668-6868. In the meantime, with all that is going on for you and how stressful it is, I’m wondering how do you take care of yourself? What are some things that you can do around self care? During a time when you might be feeling overwhelmed and stressed, what can you do that would offer you some comfort in that moment? Some examples of what some people find helpful might be to, listen to music, go for a walk, talk to a friend, watch a funny show or movie, take a warm bath and light some candles… sometimes all you can do is focus on the moment you’re experiencing, because it can be all you control, looking too far ahead into the future when you don’t have the answers can be overwhelming! So taking care of yourself in the moment is just as important as planning for the future! Be well.