Universities in US, Australia and Europe have been working explicitly and in focused ways to arrive at an understanding of issues relating to student underperformance, student retention and academic success. More importantly, they have been introducing interventions that attempt to provide more support for students based on these issues. Student retention has long been a problem in higher education and there is extensive research and literature on the topic of student retention well before the turn of the century. Tinto's theoretical model is probably one of the most well-known model to-date for predicting the factors that influence retention. It focuses on academic and social integration as a predictor of student success. Tinto et al also encourages the use of learning communities to promote collaborative learning and to help students integrate into the institution. Astin's Theory of Involvement emphasises the more involved a student is with the institution, the more likely the student remains. Summerskill indicates individual personality attributes are the main reasons for persistence and leaving. Action plans such as rescue program, student monitoring and dropout alert system, peer mentoring, better induction program and engineering outreach are all various retention strategies arise from these studies. However, despite these very extensive studies and strategies, student withdrawal is still on the rise and for some programme disciplines, the retention rate is at a point where the programmes are in danger of closure. Degree and diploma courses are in serious threat particularly for Higher Education (HE) Institutes that are less renowned with low admission requirements. As the output of science and engineering graduates decline, external forces such as government and industrialists have been continuously putting pressure on 3rd level educational institutes on what is not only a national problem but also an international one. This decline is likely to continue if we as educators do not bring about some kind of solution. In times of significant skills shortage in the employment market, as publicized by the report submitted by the Skills and Expert Group to the Irish Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, increases this pressure and emphases the breath of the issue. However, despite these efforts and extensive researches on the topic, student withdrawal rates are still on the rise and for some programme disciplines, the retention rate is at a point where the programmes are in danger of closure. So what are we doing wrong? The answer lies in 'reality', 'commitment' and 'understanding the root of the problem at any one time'. In this paper, the author will give evidences on why these three ingredients are essential for designing successful student retention strategies by investigating students who withdrew in a five year period. Evidences will be cross-examined through literature reviews, data from students who have withdrew and interviews with academic tutors. This research project sought to investigate the factors that may influence the process of withdrawal from the programme. The study highlighted some aspects of the student experience, which were having a negative impact on the student and possibly contributing to their decision to leave.

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