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


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 in the attempt to reverse this decision from happening.

On the return to education after a break in December, there may have been none or very little communication from institution to student over the holidays. With a chance to relax and forget about 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 common triggers will equate to students dropping out, which can be seen below.

  • 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 so see if they can find out by carrying on with education.

In fact, this is possibly the worst thing an institution can allow to happen. Universities 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.

Apart from the first couple of weeks, January is one of the biggest times for a huge influx of student drop outs. 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 with modern day technology. For many academics, they have become so independent with learning that teachers/lecturers will not 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 feels unwanted or not needed 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 included. Utilising a Digital Campus such as myday will create a central place 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 have to work while enrolled in college. They often find it very difficult to support themselves and their families and go to college at the same time. Many have dependent children and enrol part-time.

Changing demographics of students means that those enrolling aren’t just 18 years-old college graduates. Institutions need to make sure that everyone 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. Studying at University is just one issue but affording the 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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