Higher education institutions worldwide are faced with large numbers of dropouts and students taking too long to complete their courses. On average almost a third of students in OECD countries withdraw from higher education before obtaining a degree. A substantial proportion of students drop out in their first year. In the UK and Australia an average of 20% of Year 1 students discontinue their enrolment after one year. In the Netherlands, about 10% of Year 1 students drop out from university, while another 25% switch to other courses within or after one year. In general, medical students are a positive exception with respect to success rates and time needed for graduation.However, retrospective data averaged over eight schools and ten generations of Dutch medical students showed that still about 17% fails to complete the six-year curriculum within nine years of study and that the mean study duration of those graduated is 7.31 years. In 2004, the Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities (QANU) reported that for the 1995 to 1999 cohorts of all eight Dutch medical schools on average 64% of the students completed their Year 1 course within one year and 86% within two years. Data from two cohorts of UK medical students revealed an average dropout rate of 10%.9 About half of these dropouts left within the first year of their studies.

J. Cohen-Schotanus (Janke) , A.P.N. Themmen (Axel)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam