The university year for 2021 has officially started, both online and on campus; the new normal for the near future.

But a Studiosity research has revealed one in three university students considered dropping out of their degree last year.

The leading reason was the loss of motivation, followed by being disappointed in not receiving the typical university experiences; as well as being isolated and unsupported throughout the year.

This feeling was similar across genders, ages and stage of their degrees.

Given long lockdowns, 27% of Victorian students struggled with motivation the most, followed by 26% of students in Queensland and 20% in Western Australia.

50% of the students who contemplated dropping out but didn’t go through with it said the main reason was because they knew they needed to push on, work harder and not give up.

“The fact that so many students thought about dropping out but didn’t, highlights that although students may not have had the exact experience they expected going into the year, they developed many other skills like increased levels of resilience. What I noticed from my students last year was that they’ve also gained a deeper understanding of the importance of asking for help – and knowing the best way to do this – both of which will be invaluable as they graduate and move into the workplace,” Professor Chris Tisdell, Director of Scientia Education Academy at University NSW and member of the Studiosity Academic Advisory Board said.

But with the new year starting, Professor Judyth Sachs, Chief Academic Officer at Studiosity says the future is looking bright and students are ready for a fresh start.

As the new university year begins, we are all hoping 2021 will be a much more positive one. It’s a testament to the resilience of Australian university students, and the mammoth effort from industry leaders and institutions to create a seamless online university experience, that 2 in 3 students didn’t consider dropping out in 2020. For those who did however, recommencing their studies will likely be daunting, so it’s important for universities to continue fostering a sense of community, and provide support and also for students to be proactive in commencing the semester in the right mindset,” she says.

Universities want students to feel supported, and there are a range of services available for students that need additional help. As the 2021 university year begins, I urge students to take advantage of these support services, as they will help them get the most out of their university experience.”

Motivation after the year that’s been can be difficult, but Studiosity says there are strategies that can help re-motivate students:

  • Set realistic goals and deadlines. Instead of jumping into the year with larger-than-life goals with tight deadlines, a better approach for students is to set aside time to think through what they want to achieve in the year and work backwards. For example, if a student wants to go from a pass grade to a distinction average, aim to get all credits first before aiming for distinctions. There is nothing more demotivating than failure, so it’s crucial to make sure the goals and deadlines are achievable.
  • Take advantage of apps to help with self-control. University holidays are long, so it’s common for students to lack the self-control necessary to avoid distractions at the beginning of the semester. Apps like Self Control or Cold Turkey allow students to block access to certain sites for an allocated time period. Not only does this remove the distraction, but also helps students determine how long certain tasks can be completed in.
  • Ask for help – tonight! It’s a skill students have to learn – it’s ok to ask for help, all the best students do ask for help. And then – decide what to do with the help you just received. Find the resources you need, even before you need them. Most universities have Studiosity inside the student login. It’s trusted feedback on writing in any subject, and 24/7 study help as well. There are other resources as well, just make sure you find them inside your student login and not on the web, where they are less trustworthy.
  • Look after your most precious asset, time! Every student – in fact everyone, even in the workplace – needs help with time management. Use something like an assignment calculator to enter your assignment dates and decide when to complete certain stages.