The Surprising Reason Why Students Leave

Mick Wood

The Surprising Reason Why Students Leave

I have spoken many times in front of audiences ranging from a few to many 100s of people. So why did I feel so nervous as I prepared to deliver my first webinar?

During the webinar I wanted to emphasise the why, rather than how, we use Meetoo at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Research from HEFCE / HEA and our own internal findings highlight that the number 1 reason why students leave higher education is … LONELINESS.

Student Interactive Response Systems (SIRS) have a part to play, perhaps a crucial part, in helping students to feel a sense of belonging, to feel valued, to be confident of achieving success, to meet and cultivate new friendships and to make their families proud.  It comes down to retention and it is worth remembering that every student matters.

 I often picture the scene of a student leaving home to go on this potentially amazing adventure into higher education. Maybe they are the very first person in their family who has ever gone to university? I imagine a leaving party where their parents, family and friends celebrate and send them on their way with big hopes and high expectations. Imagine the sadness when the student drops out, often during semester one or at Christmas. All those happy memories and hopes forgotten and all that is left is disappointment and debt.

We have a responsibility to these students to help them to succeed and SIRS can play a key part. SIRS can be used during the initial welcome weeks, maybe to have a quiz, SIRS can be used during lectures to reassure students that they are doing OK and, if not, as a sign-post to encourage them to get help and advice, SIRS can be used as a revision tool and for many other uses. Have a listen to the webinar and read the reports / links I have included to find out more.

SIRS is a tool that can help students to succeed - other tools are available J.  I encourage you to give it a try. What have you got to lose?

 As for the webinar, I needn’t have worried. Feedback was positive and encouraging. My session was one of the Meetoo webinars with the most registered users –with delegates from as far afield as Finland and Australia. I also received positive messages such as: “I thought the webinar was fab and I love Meetoo”; “Webinar was great, nice one!”; “I really enjoyed the input for the session.” You see we all need some reassurance at times.