How to retain students in higher engineering education? Findings of the ATTRACT project

Ulla Rintala, Staffan Andersson, Anna Kaarina Kairamo

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    Building upon findings of the ATTRACT (Enhance the Attractiveness of Studies in Science and Technology) project, this paper discusses some of the key aspects related to student retention in higher engineering and technology education. Student retention is an increasing concern in many institutions of higher education. The difficulty with international comparison, however, often lies in the differences between national systems, concepts and performance indicators. Findings of the ATTRACT project demonstrate that student attrition is a problem especially in engineering and technology education and among first-year students. In addition, male students tend to drop out of higher education generally more often than female students. Although several theories have been developed to explain the dropout phenomenon, the dominant theory is Tinto's Student Integration Model [1], which emphasises the importance of social and academic integration of students in the prediction of student retention. However, educational persistence is above all a product of a complex set of interactions among personal, institutional and external factors. In order to prevent student attrition, the institutions need to take proactive steps to build personal relationships with their students and to identify already those students potentially at risk of dropping out.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSEFI Annual Conference 2011
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 27 Sep 201130 Sep 2011
    Conference number: 39


    ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
    Abbreviated titleSEFI


    • Academic integration
    • Engineering education
    • First year experience
    • Student retention
    • Theories of dropout

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