Six Drop Out Causes and Solutions to Keep Higher Ed Students in School

Leonardo Tissot
Leonardo Tissot
31/07/18
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Quick Take: Keeping students from dropping out depends on a retention strategy that is based on understanding why they are choosing to leave school in the first place.

Students are dropping out of college and it’s a global problem that must be acknowledged with a stronger approach. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main causes and solutions to keep students in university.

Some Graduation and Dropout Rates Around the Globe

 

What is Causing Students to Leave Higher Education? 

Icon: High Costs  High Costs           
With a constant rise in higher education costs, it is becoming harder for students to continue their studies, especially if they don’t have financial assistance from their families.
Icon: Isolation Isolation
Students often find it difficult to reach out to faculty members for assistance with coursework, as well as channeling their newfound ‘freedom’ in the right way, as for most of them, it is the first time they experience being on their own. It can also lead them to social inadequacies that can bring them a step closer to leaving school.
Icon: Academic Difficulties due to Unclear Expectations Academic Difficulties due to Unclear Expectations
Students often don’t have a clear understanding regarding the institution’s academic and behavioral expectations.
Icon: Conciliation Between Work and Study Conciliation Between Work and Study
Students that attend university on a part-time basis due to work obligations or other demands tend to leave school more often than those who attend full-time. It is common that part-time students fall behind due to time management and workload challenges.
Icon: Lack of Interest in Courses Lack of Interest in Courses
Students who focus too much on requisite courses that do not interest them are more likely to drop out, rather than those who balance their subjects between required courses and electives.
Icon: Psychological Issues Psychological Issues
Substance abuse, learning disabilities, attention/hyperactivity disorders, and autism-spectrum disorders are some of the most common psychological issues students face today.

Learning Analytics tools are your best ally when defining student retention strategies. Explore the solutions that can help you achieve your institutional goals.

How Institutions Can Keep Students Enrolled

Icon: More Efficient Colleges and Universities More Efficient Colleges and Universities         
Practicing the Five Pillars of Online Learning Effectiveness helps develop and sustain online learning programs, including: faculty satisfaction, student satisfaction, learning effectiveness, scale, and access.
Icon: Habits for Success Habits for Success
Make campus resources available to students through convocation, orientation and first-year seminars. Ensure they are aware of the GPA needed to maintain their status and the activities they must be involved to become an integral part of the university.
Icon: Big Goals, Small Steps Big Goals, Small Steps
Define goals and break them down by program, courses and department. That is the ideal path for universities to develop effective ways to encompass the entire institution in reaching those goals.
Icon: Data Collection Data Collection
In order to effectively address student retention, universities should gather information on program effectiveness, student achievement, and resource allocation, as well as understanding the characteristics and behaviors of students who are likely to fail. This is the sort of data that can enhance student retention efforts in a more insightful way.
Icon: Intervention Programs Intervention Programs
Reach out to at-risk students before they leave the university. Learning analytics solutions are a great way to find students who are experiencing academic, personal, financial or social challenges and offer timely help.
Icon: Student Success Goals Student Success Goals
When a university establishes a shared vision of student success, it becomes easier for students to understand what is expected of them and move forward to achieve it. At the same time, it also allows the institution to allocate and organize resources to support them in their journey.

Outcomes

Improving student retention levels is the greatest outcome a university can expect after understanding the challenges and available solutions. Here are some examples:

Illustration: Outcomes

Record retention rate: After using learning analytics solutions, Concordia University – Wisconsin found out they needed to improve the relationships between faculty and students, as well as how to better support students with mental health needs. Their retention rate increased from 72% to 82% in one year only
  Low dropout rate: At UNAB Chile, the development of a Comprehensive Support Model has drastically increased student retention. Their current dropout rate is between 3% to 4% only.
Improving retention with analytics: At Lewis & Clark Community College, there was a 17% improvement in student retention with the use of learning analytics tools.
Early interventions: Through the application of a predictive model, professors, instructors and student advisors at Ulster University were able to make early interventions at the first signs of student struggle.
Increased course completion and term-to-term retention rates: Through the use of analytics, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) was able to increase course completion rates from 65% to 72% and term-to-term retention rates from 69% to 83%.
Online enrollment growth: At Indian River State College, online program enrollments grew by 56% between 2014 and 2016, due to insights gathered from learning analytics tools.

 

Customer snapshot

How a Predictive Model Enhanced Ulster University’s Approach to Student Retention

Infographic:

Triibu Studio 

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