A new system to provide some guidance in choosing a degree programme had very little impact on the number of first-years dropping out, show results of a pilot study at Utrecht University. Nor is the measure likely to have much effect on the first-year pass rate in Wageningen, Education director Tiny van Boekel expects.
From this year on, universities are expected to provide a check on the choice of degree programme in the form of ‘matching’. This entails getting interested high school students to fill in questionnaires or come to the institution for activities. Afterwards, the students are given a yes/no advice about the degree subject in question, in the hope that this will help them make the right choice. Utrecht University already introduced matching last year. It has not led to a significant reduction in the dropout rate, writes the Dutch daily, de Volkskrant. Possibly because most students go ahead with their decision anyway.
According to Van Boekel, Wageningen University (WU) may stand to gain even less from the matching process. ‘The choice for our domain is usually quite an informed one and students are pretty sure about what they want.’
In 2010 an average of 18 percent of first-years at Dutch universities dropped out. The figures for Wageningen are a bit more cheering. Of Wageningen first-years ‘only’ 13 percent dropped out.