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New year, no students? Combatting January drop-out rates.

29th January 2019

Dropping out of university or college is more of a process than a single event. Students don’t just wake up one morning and want to give up on their academic journey. There are a number of factors that can equate to a student wanting to leave, which can be addressed in the early stages to prevent this situation arising.

On return to campus after the December break, there may have been none or very little communication from institutions to students over the holidays. With a chance to relax and deprioritise studies, academics often start to wonder if they are ready to go back in January. This can lead to a large influx of drop-outs in the new year.

Research suggests that there are some common triggers to students dropping out:

  • Preparation

Some students have a clear goal of where and what they want to study from a young age, which gives them a clear vision of their future. However, there is a huge percentage of students who attend college and university because that seems to be the ‘done thing’ or they are undecided on what they want to do. They stay within education until such a decision is made.

This is possibly the worst thing an institution can allow to happen. Universities and colleges need students to enrol in their quest for successful enrolment figures, but a quick fix for a student who isn’t really sure whether they want to be there very rarely ends well.

January is one of the key months that see a huge influx of student dropouts. Retention figures are integral to both reputation and ranking and if your institution has a number of students who aren’t fully engaged with their course, this will affect them both.

  • Lack of engagement

The ability to sit down and talk to a student has changed due to modern-day technology. For many academics, they have become so independent with learning that teachers/lecturers have no need to physically interact with them for weeks at a time.

Keeping students engaged with both their course information and general academic journey will vastly improve the chances of them completing their course. If a student gets distracted or disinterested then they are more likely to leave.

Technology as a driver for engagement is essential. Communicating with remote students through the likes of push notifications will keep them constantly up-to-date and feel included. Utilising a Digital Campus such as myday creates a central hub for students to access all of their academic resources and allow communication between student and university to be both fluid and frequent.

  • Personal or family issues

Many students who drop out of college or university have to work in addition to their studies. They often find it very difficult to support themselves and their families and study at the same time. Many have dependent children and enrol part-time.

Changing demographics of students means that those enrolling aren’t just 18-year-old college graduates. Institutions need to make sure that every individual is catered for. Differing backgrounds, ages and financial positions can all have a determining factor in whether a student completes their course or not.

Finances are another factor. Taking time out to study at university is just one issue but affording everything that goes with it is a tough ask. Student loans often don’t cover everything needed which puts students in a position where they genuinely can’t afford to attend.

Giving the correct advice and support on these issues will lower the chances of students dropping out. Creating relationships doesn’t have to be a face to face meeting. Connecting with students through the use of technology can combat drop-out rates in the new year, especially through the use of a Digital Campus which improves engagement and retention figures and supports students for the future.

Would you like to increase student retention with the myday Digital Campus?

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