The Universities with the Worst Drop-Out Rates 2018

AFS Team·22 August 2018·6 min read
The Universities with the Worst Drop-Out Rates 2018
By Elizabeth Whittingham

14 per cent of all students over the age of 21 leave their degree before they move into second year, with 9 in 10 of them leaving higher education altogether.

With the start of the university year fast approaching, for many soon-to-be first years, the idea of dropping out might seem absolutely out of the question. Despite this, thousands of students drop out of university every single year for a variety of reasons, be it financial, personal or driven by the acceptance that university just isn’t for them.

Whilst dropping out might seem horrific, it’s really not- and can often lead to brighter pastures or simply onto another university or onto a different course.

In light of this, we thought we would have a look at the universities with the worst dropout rates of 2018 so far, to see which universities simply cannot cling onto their undergraduates…no matter how hard they try!

Here are the top ten universities in the UK with the worst drop-out rates of 2018 so far!

The University of Bedfordshire

Coming in at number ten is the University of Bedfordshire, with a 13.2 per cent drop out rate, it appears that Bedford really isn’t the student party central people say it is! Oh wait, no one has ever said that.

Saying that, 3.5 per cent of people who dropped out actually transferred onto another course at the same university, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

The University of Staffordshire

Considering it’s spread across two campuses in Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent, it appears that this just doesn’t have that much appeal, with 13.1 per cent of students dropping out in the first year of study and only 3.7 students heading onto a different course at the same university.

The University of West Scotland

Coming in next, the University of West Scotland, who have a rather impressive 15.4 per cent drop out rate! Couple this with the tiny 1.6 per cent of students who change courses whilst staying at the same university, and it seems clear that the University of West Scotland are definitely going wrong somewhere!

Writtle University College

Yeah same, I’ve never heard of this one either, but with a 13.8 per cent drop out and a 3.6 per cent course swap, it can’t be that impressive?


Don’t worry, I googled this, and I’m pretty sure that SRUC stands for Scotland’s Rural College! (Leading the way in agri-rural research), I see what you did there!

Sorry, but with a 14.7 per cent drop out rate and only a 3 per cent course transfer level, I’m not really called to the whole agri-rural life.

Heythrop College

Despite being based in the rather impressive Kensington Borough, Heythrop College really isn’t doing too well, with an 11.6 per cent drop out rate. Despite this, 6.3 per cent of students do simply switch to another course so it’s not all doom and gloom there, it is Kensington at the end of the day.

City, University of London

City, University of London have a rather worrying 11.3 per cent of drop outs, things aren't looking great, although an average 7 out of this amount did switch to another course.

Birkbeck College

Birkbeck College are definitely in troubled waters here with a whopping 18.5 per cent drop out rate alongside a pretty disappointing 3.1 course transfer. Based in West London and with notable alumni such as Bear Grylls and Simon Bird, it is interesting to ponder what is causing the massive loss of undergraduates! There are a few reviews along the lines of not wasting your time and money there however, so that could be it.

The University of Bolton

Based in Greater Manchester with a rather cute 6,000 students, the University of Bolton unfortunately has some rather large drop-out rates; with 15.8 per cent of students leaving the college completely in 2018. Their transfer rate is quite high, with 6.8 students transferring to a different course, yet the overall rankings are still pretty low.

London Metropolitan University

Coming in with a rather impressive drop-out rate, London Metropolitan University, with a staggering 18.3 per cent of students deciding to leave before the end of the first year. Couple this, of course, with the low 7 per cent transfer rate, and it’s not looking good.

Does it depend on the course? How do mature students rank?

According to Channel 4, drop-out rates vary considerably depending on the course, alongside other factors such as contact hours and subject intensity.

Computer Science currently has the largest drop-out rate, with an average drop-out rate of ten per-cent for the subject across the board, closely followed by advertising and agriculture.

Although a difficult and intense topic, medicine actually holds the lowest drop-out rates, probably because of how hard it is to get onto the course in the first place!

The drop-out levels for mature students don’t really look too good. A considerable 14 per cent of all students over the age of 21 leave their degree before they move into second year, with 9 in 10 of them leaving higher education altogether.

In contrast to this, an average of just 8.6 per cent of students under the age of 21 drop-out of their university degree, they are also considerably less likely to leave higher education.

So, did your university pop up above? What’s your opinion on dropping out of your degree?

Leave your comments below!