High School Dropout Finds Path to Success
College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences graduate’s experience proves that there are many routes to earning a college degree
Chris Pratt took an unconventional path to get a college education.
Growing up in Deary, Idaho, just east of Moscow, Pratt always had a connection to the Palouse and wanted to attend the University of Idaho.
However, he found himself uninterested in high school and ended up leaving early to join the military. After spending four years serving in the Marines, Pratt decided it was time to continue his education.
“I just didn’t find myself motivated in high school,” Pratt said. “But I always knew I wanted to attend college.”
Pratt will graduate in December from UI’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in general studies. He used his experience as a high school dropout as motivation to obtain a college degree.
“I still remember the feeling of failing high school like it was yesterday,” Pratt said. “It inspired me to work hard and not give up.”
While looking for the right fit in universities and degrees, Pratt completed a trade school program at a two-year college. He used this training to start his own business, a dock building company in Coeur d’Alene that employs three to four workers.
Thanks to the University of Idaho’s network of online classes and the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene campus, Pratt was able to pursue his educational goals and continue to operate his company.
“The flexibility in my classes has helped make my overall experience at the University of Idaho great,” Pratt said. “The things that I learned, such as time management and interpersonal skills, really helped me with running my business.”
After graduation, Pratt plans to move to Seattle, Washington, where he has accepted a project engineer position with a large commercial construction company, a position that would normally require an engineering or construction management degree.
“My education in CLASS helped me land a solid job,” Pratt said. “The classes that I took made me a more well-rounded and employable person.”
He said he is looking forward to walking across the stage at commencement — once a high school dropout, now a college graduate.
“Getting a degree from the University of Idaho means the world to me,” Pratt said. “My path to graduation has been unique, but I hope to show others that it is possible to be successful in school if you work hard enough, even if you did poorly in high school.”
Written by Ben Shannon, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences