We all know that one friend who went to University for a term, dropped out and never came back... perhaps even you’re that person? Well, you’re not alone: despite the total number of dropouts falling, 27,000 students drop out after a year, which is the equivalent to 1 in 14 – now that sounds pretty high.
No matter what the reason is for dropping out, certain courses and certain institutions have higher overall rates: for instance, computer science courses suffer the highest drop-out rates of 12.2%, followed by agriculture at 10%. In contrast – and perhaps surprisingly – medicine and dentistry enjoys the lowest figures at 1.8% (maybe it’s the thought of a well-paid job at the end that keeps them going!), with history and philosophy closely behind at 3.9%.
And whilst it’s interesting which courses have the highest dropout rates, what we’re all really interested in is which Universities have the highest rates? Take a look at the top 10 and see if your University features!
10. Ravensbourne University
Previous students include celebrities Stella McCartney and David Bowie, this University – offering more creative courses in areas such as fashion, photography and media – has rather low entry requirements for all of its courses at just two A Levels grade C and above (bearing in mind most Universities require 3 A Levels). Ravensbourne has also just made it into the top 10 list of highest drop-out rates, with the class of 2008 dropping from 170 to 140 by 2009 – only ten of which actually carried on studying for a degree at another University.
9. Middlesex University
With campuses all over the world from Mauritius, Malta and Dubai to the erm, amazing Middlesex, home to the £200million flagship campus; on paper, Middlesex sounds impressive. The 2,125 students who enrolled in 2008 probably thought this too, but perhaps the overall Middlesex University experience didn’t quite live up to expectations – by September 2009, 12.9% of first years had dropped out, with 95 students transferring to a different University and 275 giving up on studying full stop.
8. Edinburgh Napier University
More than half of the UK students attending are originally from an EH postcode; and the city-centre position in Scotland’s capital city and high employment rates of 92.3% surely sound attractive, right? Well, obviously not... of the 1,495 students enrolled in 2008, by September 2009 45 had transferred to another institution whilst 200 had dropped out altogether!
7. University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Established in 2010 following the merger of University of Wales Lampeter, Trinity University College Carmarthen and Swansea Metropolitan; Trinity Saint David officially has the worst dropout rate in all of Wales, and the seventh highest rates in the UK. At 13.4%, 42 of the 305 first year students dropped out before their second year, with only 5 continuing their studies at a different University.
6. University Campus Suffolk
In partnership with Essex University and East Anglia University, this campus is set in the rural county of Suffolk, and was established in 2007. Of the 365 first year students who attended in 2008, a substantial 13.7% had dropped out by the following year. Bearing in mind that’s 60 students; just 10 transferred to another institution – this choice may have derived from the realisation that just 60% of graduates secure jobs; not exactly reassuring.
5. London Metropolitan University
Named the fourth worst University in the country by The Guardian with its high student-staff ratio of 21.7 students per member of staff and low career prospects of a mere 50%, it may come as no shock that London Met has the fifth highest dropout rate in the country, with 15.8% failing to return for second year in 2009. Of these students, 225 transferred to another institution, whilst 280 dropped out of education altogether.
4. Bolton University
Bolton University is popular with many students from the North-West, allowing them to live close to home, whilst only a short distance away from the bustling cities of Manchester and Liverpool. Despite this however, Bolton still suffers from the fourth worst dropout rates in the country, with 16.6% of first year students dropping out before the start of their second year!
3. Writtle College
I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of this place, but it’s actually an agricultural college, in partnership with Essex University. With graduate employment rate within 6 months a shockingly low 45%, perhaps it’s no wonder that 18.5% of first year students dropped out in 2009 – it must be pretty disheartening realising the low prospects. On the plus side, pretty much ANYWHERE has higher employment rates, so for the dropouts, things can only get better!
2. University of the West of Scotland
Set across four campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley, of the 1,225 first year students who started in 2008, 20.6% didn’t return for the academic year of 2009. Entry requirements are fairly average at three C’s at A-Level... but despite the claim on its website that they offer a “diverse range of courses and strong links with business", with students “choosing to study here following positive recommendations", for one reason or another, the students simply are not satisfied.
1. University of the Highlands and Islands
Ohh of course... that really well-known University of the Highlands and Islands that everyone’s always talking about!... Never heard of it before? Me neither, but you can’t really blame us considering it was only granted higher education status in 2000, with 85 first year students in 2008. Of them 85 students, 23.5% had dropped out by the end of the year – although the reasons behind these dropouts aren’t available, maybe we can all just assume that the students went on to bigger (and better) things...
Written by Elle Pollicott