A study of Australian university participation rates conducted in 2018 found that one in five students are more likely to drop out than complete university. A number of causal factors were identified such as changing to a different university or course, deferring with the intention to return in the future and others. Sadly, failing courses was also a factor and this was tied to a student’s lack of readiness for university life. Many students, after being in a very structured and supported environment for the previous twelve years of their schooling, have simply not developed the self-discipline and the range of study skills needed for university level education.
There are a number of personal skills necessary for success at a university level that should be developed during primary and secondary school. Parents with children who expect to go through to university should be looking at using personal tutors to assist with establishing the routine and discipline needed in the years to come.
It is absolutely essential for young students to learn the positive study habits they will need to do well in an unstructured environment, both at university and also in the work force. Many workplaces these days are built around self-directed work teams, with generic overall targets the only guide what needs to be achieved. If people haven’t learnt self-management skills earlier in life, they can be left in a turmoil of indecision that affects their job performance.
Self-discipline is a major part of this equation, and personal tutors can provide young students with specific tools that help them develop this part of their study habits. Such tools as time management and timeline graphs to keep track of progress against a work rate calendar, keeping a study diary, regularly scheduling lesson and study time using modern technology such as Outlook, which gives reminders each time it is accessed, are all techniques that a personal tutor can demonstrate and assist the student to set up.
For a student, planning a study timetable and sticking to it is no different to the discipline required by elite athletes, musicians and other professionals who become expert performers in their field through constant practice, correction of errors and coaching by others. This is the same process that personal tutors use to assist their students to put some structure around their study and help them identify and acquire the additional skills needed to succeed.
While the study was not necessarily an overall black mark against Australian universities, as for example, financial hardship was also a factor that contributed to the high dropout rate, it highlighted an area that can be addressed earlier in a child’s study life.