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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
The aim of this thesis is to examine how students experience education at the Dublin Institute of
Technology. What happens to them that influences their decision to leave their course of choice and what can we do to help? In this thesis I have looked at the phenomenon of dropout students from the Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management in DIT and the factors that influence their choice of course and then subsequent withdrawal from this course. I have interviewed a student who has left another course to pursue the Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management to examine if her reasons for leaving a course and choosing another are similar. I have also spoken with a student who has progressed onto a degree program having at one point in her student life in DIT wanted to dropout from the Diploma. This research was conducted in the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism. It supports previous research by the Retention Office into the reasons of student dropout. Students said that completing the application for college was not given enough time and also that there
was insufficient information provided to them from college prospectuses. In relation to their teaching and learning experiences most students reflected that it was difficult to settle into some subjects and independent learning was a new and daunting experience for them. Supports were also important to them in the form of student's services and career guidance; however their feelings varied each year with the student union, whereas the careers service was not viewed as being helpful. Financial support also affected some students.
Recommendations were made and are as follows:
• Compulsory attendance at induction where existing students of the college can welcome new
students to the college. Students interviewed saw induction periods as positive
• Tracking of students through registers or other means.
• Mentoring through student-to-student 'buddy' systems.
• Professional and industry involvement can highlight careers in the industry.
• Career education provided through the tutors, lecturers, careers services and student services
within the college and through Alumni visits.
From the above recommendations the following conclusions were drawn from the thesis:
• Get to know our students, provide mentor and use appropriate tracking systems;
• Student lecturer interaction outside of the classroom is important and time should be allocated for this for all lecturers.
• Allocation of lecturers as tutors is vital for visibility of support;
• Student support networks in place in colleges and ongoing liaising with schools is also vitally
• Course information must improve and be provided to all potential students via open days,
prospectuses or direct marketing;
• Recognise that all students are individuals and retention should be done on a course basis
which should be staggered throughout the year.
Conway, A.: Why Do Students Abandon Programs Prior to Completion?: An Investigation Into the Phenomenon of Dropout Students From the Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management, DIT. Masters Dissertation. Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2004.