Survey finds one in three students have ‘seriously considered’ dropping out

A national survey of students found that 37% had contemplated withdrawing from their degree programme

Over a third of students have ‘seriously considered’ dropping out of their college course, according to a national survey of students.

A major annual survey examining students’ experiences of higher education in Ireland,, found that 37% of students have contemplated’ withdrawing from their degree programme.

42,852 first year undergraduate students, final year undergraduate students, and students on taught postgraduate programmes took part in the survey, which ran in 25 higher education institutions (HEIs) in February and March.

Reasons given for considering withdrawal included personal or family reasons, financial reasons, transfer to another institution, health reasons, and employment.

The non-progression rate from first to second year for the 2019/2020 academic year was 9%, while the 2022 data suggests that 35% of first year undergraduate respondents said they had seriously considered withdrawing.

The survey also found that 84% of students would go to the same institution they are now attending if given the choice to start over, while 74% believed that their college experience had benefited their knowledge, skills, and critical and analytical thinking.

Last year’s report showed that the student experience was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a significant impact on scores for collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, quality of interactions, and supportive environment.

This year’s data shows a significant improvement in the student experience. Although it has not yet returned to pre-Covid levels, there was a particular improvement in the indicator scores that were initially most impacted by Covid-19 in 2021.