National university retention rate statistics released by the Department of Education on Monday have revealed  somewhat alarming national results. As many as 1 in 5 students will drop out in their first year, with the Northern Territory having the highest drop out rate. But the University of Wollongong’s dropout rates are below national and state average, meaning more students who commence degrees at the university complete them. UOWTV  Multimedia looks at the reasons why.

UOW Retention Rates in the National Top Ten.

The Census date for Australian universities passed on Monday, making it the last day for students to withdraw from subjects without financial penalty. Shocking statistics released yesterday have shown that 1 in 5 students across the country drop out in their first year of study. The study shows that the University of Wollongong only has a 10% drop out rate, ranking it among the top ten for retention in Australia. Whereas Universities like Charles Sturt are averaging over 1500 dropouts, UOW sits at about a third of that – around only 450 to 500 dropouts.

Whilst many students have to drop out due to genuine personal and financial reasons, most accredit their withdrawal to incorrect course choice or study being ‘not for them.’ Xanthe Knox, Client Service Manager at UOW, says the jump from high school to self-directed learning is a great challenge for some students.

“There are many students who come to speak to us who are struggling to cope with the change from the constant supervision of high-school, to self-motivation,” she said. Xanthe finds exchange opportunities, extracurricular scholarships and work-integrated prospects are what keep students UOW. (Edited 16/9/14)

Whilst some simply aren’t suited to university study, Xanthe finds exchange opportunities, extracurricular scholarships and work-integrated prospects are what keep students UOW. Rachelle Jones, a volunteer for the UOW Connect program, believes that it can take some of the credit for the university’s positive stats.

The program contacts every new university student within their first three weeks of study.

“If they’re having any trouble but are too nervous to ask, we’re there to have a chat and help out before it becomes too overwhelming that they feel they have to leave,” she said.

“An overwhelming response from new students supports their claim. First year Law student Emma Hantzis explained, “Uni is freaky when you first start, but the more you get involved the easier it becomes. I needed that little push and that’s why I love UOW.”

Multimedia Reporter: Lauren Markham

Exchange Putting Students on the Path to Graduation

With a recent study by the Department of Education finding that University of Wollongong students are almost twice as likely to stick with their degree than the national average, we look at why UOW is so good at keeping its students interested. One possible reason? A vibrant International Exchange program, which saw over 500 students travel abroad last year.

So, is UOW keeping students interested by sending them overseas? Ashley Tanks from the Study Abroad and Exchange program talks today at the International Exchange Fair about what makes exchange so appealing:

Multimedia Reporter: Amy Lindley 

Do your professors actually like you?

A British academic boldly mentioned this week he doesn’t like many of his students, which raises an interesting talking point: is it necessary for academics to like their students? And do students need to like them back?  Staff and students at the University of Wollongong speak to Jon Bragg about this interesting and sometimes difficult relationship:

Multimedia Reporter: Jon Bragg

UOW’s International Exchange Fair

In light of today’s International Exchange Fair on campus, what are the stats on students coming here and going abroad?

Multimedia Reporter: Yasmin Blundell