"Dropping out", in the sense of "not going through high-school" isn't necessarily synonymous with "not going to college" and "working a low-paying job until you tear your eyes out".
I have a friend who started college at 16 - without finishing high-school (or getting a GED, I'm not sure if she plans to do that just to have it or what, though). She's majoring in engineering and doing just fine. Her brother also didn't go to a conventional high-school and right now he's on winter break from MIT.
I know kids who dropped out and are struggling. It's not for everyone. I know kids who graduated with great grades and are struggling, and those who are doing well. Nothing is a guarantee. Anything can go wrong.
And for all this talk, it's important to remember that college actually isn't for everyone and you're not a terrible person if you don't go. Going to a trade school or undergoing an apprenticeship isn't evil, those are real jobs (that make real, spendable money) just like any other.
A degree or a salary isn't happiness, and if you don't get yourself into debt, you can easily live on minimum wage. Happiness might not be what you expect or what you've been told it should look like.