This study investigates the impact of finishing versus dropping out of college on selfesteem. Using data spanning three decades from the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we find that dropping out of a four-year college significantly decreases selfesteem compared to graduating. In addition, two- and four-year college graduates have significant higher self-esteem than high school graduates never enrolled in college. However, individuals dropping out of a two- or a four-year college miss out on this positive effect. These findings are long-term effects still visible when dropouts are in their late 40s.