Below you can read a summary of a preliminary study that was conducted by Frens Schuring of Terra on the basis of the significant differences between the number of intakes taken and the number of students actually enrolled.
Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, 1167 students followed an intake for a study (new students) or further study (internal transfer students) at Terra. The October 1 2020 census shows that 841 students have actually entered into an education agreement with Terra. This means that 28% did not choose Terra: 27% of the new students did not start and 34% of the potential internal transfer students are no longer associated with Terra. That is a significant percentage and it raises the question of why this is the case.
Further research shows that a 100% score is not possible. Some students want a training at a specific location that is not offered there. Other students apply for a study, even though they do not have a diploma of the required prior education. Better information about what is possible and what the admission requirements are, can remedy this. But the vast majority of them are place-able students who, for reasons that we do not yet know enough, decide not to enter the program of Terra.
Student research non-starters
It also raises the question of what Terra could and should do to bring this percentage down. This requires research among non-starters.
Questions you may ask them are:
- Are you currently registered with a school? If so, at which school?
- If question 1 is answered with yes: which study do you follow at this school (field)?
- What are the main reasons why you did not choose to study at Terra?
- What could Terra improve on the intake?
- What could Terra have done to get you to study with Terra now?
What could be the possible outcome of the answers to the questions?
- Content wise: in view of the interest shown by non-starters, where do their preferences lie and can we take this into account in our courses (and optional components)? How do we make our curricula more attractive?
- Content wise: what do the schools, that the non-starters have chosen, including neighboring AOCs, do better and what can Terra learn from that?
- Execution: how can Terra adapt the form in which education is offered in such a way that it allows non-starters to start a training at Terra? Think of the whole range of LLL options: new vocational training pathways (BBL), part-time education for adults, course education and tailor-made programs.
Characteristics of the non-starting students
The following is about potential students who ultimately did not start. The internal transferors have not (yet) been studied due to the lack of (reliable) lists.
On average 19 years old
Compared to the regular intake, the qualified prevocational student of 16.5 years old, it is striking that the non-starters are on average 2.5 years older. The average age of the non-starter is 19 years. The population contains more than average:
- Students who took longer to complete the preliminary phase;
- Students who have not already completed one or more (VET) further education courses;
- Older potential students, who have a job but are considering a career switch.
Are these exactly the categories that are critically treated during the intake at locations where the attention for the educational results is high?
About 40% of the non-starting new students show interest at unusual times of the year. The majority of these 40% are interested in the months of May to September. It is known that relatively many of the late applicants terminate their studies early. Last in, first out. Late registration suggests that these are students who have doubts about what they want or who are critical of the organization with which they enter into a contract. In both cases this means – if an education agreement is reached – that a relationship is started that is not strong.
How to proceed?
For the future, it is desirable to carry out the survey annually, earlier and closer to the source. The group of non-starters is questioned every year, but this does not include the above questions. In addition, it is not mandatory to complete the questionnaire presented to non-starters. How can Terra approach this in a smarter way and who will actively get involved in getting as many answers as possible?