1st Edition

How to Recruit and Retain Higher Education Students A Handbook of Good Practice

By Tony Cook, Brian S. Rushton Copyright 2010
    256 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How to Recruit and Retain Higher Education Students is an invaluable resource for academic staff, administrators and policy makers involved in student recruitment and improving student retention. It offers practical advice on how universities can influence the expectations of prospective students, allowing them to make sensible decisions about careers, courses and institutions.

    Many surveys of students who drop out of university show that most do so out of disappointment. Failing to understand what higher education was about quickly enough, they become confused and frustrated. Dropping out seems the best solution. This book describes a series of practices proven to encourage students to stay on, discussing the background research on student attrition. By preparing students better for their higher education experience, the practices in this book are effective not only in recruiting students but also in matching them to the right institutions and programmes.

    The practices described range from those reaching out in a broad way to communities of potential students, to university support for pre-entry examinations, to enhanced communication between institutions and applicants. All are described in sufficient detail to allow judgments to be made about how to use and adapt them to suit local needs.

    How to Recruit and Retain Higher Education Students provides a sound theoretical foundation for research into student retention and provides the necessary underpinning for those academic staff embarking on courses and assists in preparing them for their roles in both teaching and student support. 

    List of Figures

    List of Tables




    1. The Roots of Attrition, Anthony Cook

    2. Access and Admissions, Anthony Cook

    3. Transition…From What? A Review of the Influences on the Choices and Expectations of Entrants to Higher Education, Derek Shuter

    4. udecide: Helping Learners make SMART Decisions, Helen Cormack

    5. The Community University of the Valleys Model: ‘Reaching the Students Other Recruitment Strategies Can’t Reach’, Colin Trotman, Rita Kop, Rhysian Jones and Alyson Jenkins

    6. New Opportunities for Disadvantaged Pupils: The Step-Up Programme, Damian O’Kane, Chris Finlay and Anne Mooney

    7. Progression into Higher Education via an Access Summer School, John Blicharski

    8. Quality Information Available to Students Prior to Entry, Mark Davies and Anthony Cook

    9. University Visit Days, Helen Richardson

    10. ‘I’ll Be There For You’: The Impact of Northumbria ‘Friends’ on Recruitment and Retention, Peter Slee, Chris Watts and Martin Thomas

    11. Promoting Student Retention Using Support Strategies Prior to Entry, Aine M. McKillop, Abbie McKenna and Anthony Cook

    12. Student Mentoring Prior to Entry: Getting Accurate Messages Across, Dan Bennett

    13. Online Pre-induction Support, Becka Currant and Neil Currant

    14. Second Chances for Students: The Fresh Start Project, Debbie Loveday

    15. Recruitment for Retention: A Way Forward, Brian S. Rushton

    List of Contributors



    Anthony Cook is the Senior Lecturer and Director of the STAR (Student Transition and Retention) Project as well as faculty coordinator of Teaching and Learning at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. Dr Cook is a  member of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

    Brian S. Rushton is affiliated with the School of Environmental Science at the University of Ulster.

    "...A very useful addition to the literature on the recruitment and retention of students."--Australian Universities' Review