16% of First-Year Students Drop Out of University

A large number of students drop out of college or university by the end of their first year and one in seven students will fail to graduate at all, according to current research, and students without “A” averages are often twice as likely to drop out.

This is a huge, serious and growing problem that is everywhere. Recent studies by Canadian universities, Statistics Canada and independent researchers indicate that as many as half of all first-year students may drop out or be kicked out by the end of their first year at university or college.

No student is safe and the studies have identified several high-risk groups that include students who:

• Are Caucasian
• Are male,
• Are from rural communities,
• Have parents that do not have university degrees,
• Have dependent children,
• Have averages of 60%-69%,
• Come from single-parent families,
• Are not Canadian by birth,
• Spent less than 3 hours per week on homework in high school.

While females are 28% less likely to drop out than males they’re still at risk and most first-year students will see their grades fall by about 15% on average.

Students used to enter post-secondary education at about age 20. Now, the average is closer to 17 years of age. The result is that many students are not prepared for the academic, emotional, psychological and personal stresses associated with the difficult transition from the more structured environment of high school to university or college. Away from home for the first time, most struggle with homesickness, loneliness, lack of structure, inadequate high school preparation and uncertainties about their academic majors.

Parents often feel powerless to help. They blame themselves and feel guilty for being disappointed when their child fails, but also feel angry because thousands of dollars in tuition and room and board have been wasted.

This is a terrible situation for the students, their parents, and the schools. Everyone wants the university or college experience to be profitable and successful but, not everyone who attends is capable of achieving this.

Helping students determine if they’re prepared before they enroll is a critical step in securing their success and reducing their chances of dropping out. Fortunately, there are ways to help parents and students accomplish this. Unfortunately, few high schools, guidance counselors, and even fewer parents, know about them.

For less than the cost of the average fast-food meal, students about to leave high school can find out if they have the skills and abilities to succeed in college or university. There are easy-to-use, inexpensive tools available that can help students determine if they have the commitment, self-management skills, interpersonal and social skills, study skills, and career planning skills to do well after high school. These instruments also help college bound young people understand the personal, emotional, and social challenges they will face when starting their first year.

Based on record-breaking research the results demonstrate solid, proven relationships between a student’s traits and important outcomes for them in their first year away at school. These resources have been designed expressly for adolescents.

These instruments go beyond simply identifying whether taking a year off to mature is appropriate before embarking on more education. They also help identify what type of school is right for them, whether a dorm or apartment situation is more suitable, how to manage stress, adapt to roommates, choose the right courses of study and much more.

Best of all, once the potential gaps in maturity, preparedness, focus and commitment have been identified, then it’s easy to guide young people and help them become better prepared for the post-secondary experience and their first extended period away from home. The tools provide students and parents with detailed information and suggestions for how and where to make the necessary improvements. Students are happier and more confident and parents are assured that their financial support will not be squandered.

University should be enjoyable and a transition to emotional, personal and financial independence. Don’t let your child struggle, fail and be left behind. There is help available that anyone can use. To find out more information about these and other resources for students, parents, guidance counselors and institutions, please contact Creative Organizational Design at info@creativeorgdesign.com.


Universities fight to stop first-year flameouts – Click Here

Has Ontario taught its high-school students not to think? – Click Here

National college dropout rate now 1 in 7 – Click Here

Postsecondary Education – Participation and Dropping Out: Differences Across University, College and Other Types of Postsecondary Institutions – Click Here

Why do so many first-year students drop out? – Click Here

1 In 6 First-Year University Students Won’t Make The Grade – Click Here

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