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The use of social network sites to reduce the number of drop-outs in the first year of ES4

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

The use of social network sites to reduce the number of drop-outs in the first year of ES4

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

One of the key elements of the vision of The Hague University is its international character; the students should feel themselves as global citizens. European Studies (ES) is one of the most important international-orientated study programmes within The Hague University which educates students to become global citizens. Unfortunately, every year a number of students ends their studies at the ES department. This could have financial consequences and could damage the image of The Hague University. In order to find a solution to this problem, one has to understand the reasons why students drop out. In this report the target group is the prospective ES4 student.

According to the new communication plan of The Hague University a new communication tool will be implemented: social network sites (SNS). However, this tool will mainly be used for the recruitment of students. Because of this, the possibilities of this tool will be researched in order to find out if this tool can also help to reduce the number of drop-outs in the first year of ES4. The reason the focus lies on the first year students is because of the fact that approximately 78 percent of the drop-outs end their studies during or after the first year. In the course year 2008/2009 19 percent of the first year ES4 students dropped out.

The use of SNS is a mega trend as well as a social trend. It is a new two-way communication tool and has changed the way one communicates nowadays. It can make it easier for organizations to reach their target group and it allows the target group to give feedback to the organization. Students are the main users of SNS. SNS can be used for social purposes (such as contacting friends) and marketing purposes (such as online advertising).

According to the findings of this research, the reasons students have for dropping out are diverse. The two most common given reasons by the first year ES4 drop-outs are the feeling that they have chosen the wrong study programme and that the programme is too broad. Considering these reasons, it can be concluded that these students had a different perception of the programme. Thus their expectations were not met. There are two explanations for their misperception:
1. The students were not informed correctly about the programme.
2. Students did not orientate well before applying for the study programme.

When one knows the main reasons drop-outs have to end their studies at ES4 is because of a problem with the information that takes place during college consideration, it is important to know what communication activities ES4 has to inform its target group. The most common used tool by the target group is the website of The Hague University. Second most common used tool is the open day. Furthermore, trial courses are the most influential tool but it is not popular among ES4 drop-outs: only nine percent has participated in a trial course. However, approximately one-third of the first year ES4 students has participated. This could mean that participating in a trial course could result in a better understanding of the study programme. Therefore, this tool has to become more popular.

To find out the opinion of the target group on SNS as a tool for college consideration, a survey was conducted among this group at the ES department in The Hague University. The result of this survey was that the majority of the surveyed students were active on a SNS and that Hyves is the most popular website. Another important outcome is that almost all surveyed prospective ES4 students (92%) would like to be informed by a study programme through SNS.

Combining all facts together, the following two objectives for this research were formulated:
1. To use SNS to make sure the correct information is available and will be found and used by prospective ES4 students.
2. To use SNS to make sure more prospective students will participate in trial courses.

As the use of SNS is a mega trend it means that it will last for at least 10 more years. Therefore, it is recommended that the ES department organizes projects and workshops for ES4 students to make sure they learn how to use SNS efficiently. One of the possibilities is to set up a project for ES4 students to create a page on Hyves for prospective ES4 students. Moreover, The Hague University could advertise on Hyves, for example to promote trial courses.

Little research was done over the last five years on ES4 drop-outs. In order to find a solution to this problem, it is recommended to do more research to the motivation of ES4 students for dropping out. When there is clear and recent data available on the motivation of these drop-outs, an appropriate solution can be found. Another research that will be interesting for ES4 and The Hague University to conduct is finding out if the information sent to prospective ES4 students on the study programme is indeed incorrect as first year ES4 students have indicated.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingESC Europese Studies / European Studies
PartnersHaagse Hogeschool, Europese Studies/European Studies
Jaar2010
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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