Student retention has already for long been among the most widely researched areas in higher education. The generalizability of research in this field, however, is problematic due to cultural and structural differences between countries, universities and even programs where research is done.
It has been noted that engineering students tend to drop out of university more often and they take a longer time to graduate than their peers in non-engineering programs.
Student retention is an increasing concern in many institutions of higher education. High dropout rates are undesirable for several reasons. For example, retention not only has an impact on the individual and his/her family but also produces a ripple effect on the postsecondary institutions, the work force and the economy. Indeed, retention is one of the most common ways students, parents and stakeholders evaluate the effectiveness of institutions of higher education
In a constructive environment and quality culture the expectations of all involved should be high, but realistic. It is also very important that these expectations are clearly communicated to all parties and especially for the first-year students as early as possible.
Feedback is essential for all parties to know how they live up to expectations. The different activities building our educational practice are constantly evolving. This development can be greatly enhanced through relevant information and feedback. This helps the institutions to make foresights, with help of early warning systems – at institutional, program and individual level.
Support in different forms can greatly help participants reach their respective goals. The support can help clarifying expectations and providing feedback, but can also have many other forms as described in many of the case studies provided by ATTRACT. This support can be formal and organised, as well as quite informal. Human support must include both academic and well-being support.
The involvement of the participants is vital for a productive educational culture. The culture must grow and it is important that participants see its value. It is important that the reasons behind different activities as well as their results are clearly presented to all involved