Life Course Perspective and Dropout from Higher Education (LAST)
Given the high demand for academic professionals in the course of demographic change on the one hand and high drop-out rates in individual subjects studied on the other hand, the empirical analysis of absenteeism and drop-out rates of students are of great importance. National and international studies point to a variety of causes for dropout tendency and dropout. They illustrate that cross-sectional, monocausal and cross-cultural analysis are not sufficient. Instead, integrative and longitudinal analysis approaches are needed, taking into account different subject cultures. The LAST research project, on the basis of a longitudinal perspective base on life course theory, determines the causes of dropout tendency and dropping out in selected fields of studies. The special feature is that causal research is concentrated not only in the university area but also within other contexts such as family, partnerships and peer groups. The importance of different influencing factors on the dropout tendency of students and actually dropping out should be clarified, and which approaches can be useful in order to recognize and respond accordingly in at early stage. In order to answer this research question BA students from the STEM area and the humanities department at two universities are questioned several times during the study or after their dropout by means of a standardized prospective longitudinal study. The project results are intended to determine more precisely which situational conditions from the respective contexts (university, family, partnership, friends) are prerequisites for concrete prevention and intervention measures and where, for example, private life situations are clearly opposed. From the findings, conclusions about the tendency to dropout and the dropout for studies are to be drawn in order to tackle early and more focused the tendency to withdrawal from studies.