chapter  1
The Roots of Attrition
WithANTHONY COOK
Pages 11

The general causes of student drop out are well known and although the dropout rates vary from country-to-country, the root causes remain a set of unrealistic expectations on behalf of prospective students and inadequate student support in universities. While much effort has been devoted to keeping students in the teaching programmes and institutions that they have joined, less attention is paid to supporting students to make good choices before entry. Students have to adapt rapidly to changes in lifestyle, as well as in teaching and assessment methods. Institutions can forewarn prospective students of the changes they will be expected to make and can make adaptations to their own practices to make the transitions easier. Universities are strange places with transient populations of large numbers of relatively young people with their attendant problems of social adjustment and evolving ambitions.