Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 2, No. 3 (2005)

Serious thoughts about dropping out in first year: Trends, patterns and implications for higher education

Kerri-Lee Krause, University of Melbourne


Student attrition has become the focus of significant research activity in Australia over the past decade. To some extent this focus has been by driven by national policy imperatives to reduce student attrition, but other drivers include a growing concern about the quality of the student experience in the context of an increasingly marketised and highly competitive higher education sector. This paper reports on data drawn from the national study of the first year experience in Australian universities. It examines the characteristics of first year undergraduates who seriously consider dropping out of university during their first year. Implications for policy and practice are discussed by way of conclusion.

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