Early warning signs of a university dropout
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Early warning signs of a university dropout

Don’t become a statistic. Education expert Peter Kriel of the IIE has great advice to ensure students complete their studies. 

Students
Students/ iStock

The number of students dropping out of higher learning institutions is alarming. 

Inside Education reports that more than 40% of students drop out in their first year of study.

“While statistics vary, it is estimated that more than 40% of students quit their studies after their first year. Some would argue that this figure is as high as 60%,” Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest private Higher Education provider, said in a press release.

“Not being successful as a first year student in Higher Education, is a process that begins well before a student actually drops out of Higher Education, as there are various early signs of potential failure that can predict if a student may run into trouble later,” he added. 

Kriel gives the following warning signs: 

- Not attending the institution’s orientation programme

During the orientation programme, first-year students are introduced to different facilities and given information to help them get prepared for their tertiary life.

“If you missed out on orientation, particularly academic onboarding programmes, you will now have to acquire these skills on your own on top of the day-to-day academic demands,” Kriel told Meropa Communications. 

Kriel advises students to catch up and gather as much information as soon as possible. This might mean allocating extra time to farmiliarising yourself with some of the facilities in the institution. 

- Not attending class

Kriel says one of the biggest contributing factors to students dropping out is having a habit of missing class, especially without valid reasons.

“Of course, reasons beyond your control may cause you to occasionally miss a lecture or tutorial, but if you miss class simply because you don’t feel like it or you had a late night and feel like sleeping in, you are at risk.  If you miss class because you are working on an assignment or task in another module – you may need to plan better. Missing class to do assignments becomes a vicious circle as you miss more classes to do other assignments. This is a recipe for failure,” he told Meropa Communications. 

- Failing or not completing assessments 

Kriel says students should take note of how they are performing throughout the year. If they have failed assessments, they should speak to their lecturers or work harder to ensure they don't fail. 

- Not having prescribed textbooks

“Unfortunately, your chances of success are diminished if you don’t have textbooks.  Textbooks guide students through the syllabus of a specific module like a roadmap and are often accompanied by additional resources, questions and activities that will enhance the mastering of the required material,” Kriel told Meropa Communications. 

READ: Education expert cautions against taking a gap year after matric

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