Four Ways to Boost University Study Motivation in 2021

New research has revealed lost motivation was a leading reason for students contemplating quitting their university study in 2020, a year marred by the pandemic.

The analysis of university study motivation was commission by Studiosity, an online study support platform, and showed one in three university students considered dropping out of their degree last year.

Lost motivation was followed by being disappointed in not getting the university experience they expected, as well as feeling unsupported and isolated at times.

Given long lock downs, Victorian students struggled with motivation the most (27%), followed by those from Queensland (26%) and Western Australia (20%).

When it came to why students who contemplated dropping out didn’t, the most common reason was they knew they needed to push on, work harder and not give up.

The university study motivation research was based on analysis of more than 1000 Australian student responses in 2020 and consisted of a mix of both domestic and international students.

Director of Scientia Education Academy at University NSW Professor Chris Tisdell said “The fact that so many students thought about dropping out but didn’t, highlights that although students may not have had the exact experience they expected going into the year, they developed many other skills like increased levels of resilience.”

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Studiosity Chief Academic Officer On the research, Professor Judyth Sachs said: “It’s a testament to the resilience of Australian university students, and the mammoth effort from industry leaders and institutions to create a seamless online university experience, that two in three students didn’t consider dropping out in 2020.

“For those who did however, recommencing their studies will likely be daunting, so it’s important for universities to continue fostering a sense of community,  and provide support and also for students to be proactive in commencing the semester in the right mindset.”

Four ways to boost university study motivation:

  • Set realistic goals and deadlines. Instead of jumping into the year with larger-than-life goals with tight deadlines, a better approach for students is to set aside time to think through what they want to achieve in the year and work backwards. For example, if a student wants to go from a pass grade to a distinction average, aim to get all credits first before aiming for distinctions. There is nothing more demotivating than failure, so it’s crucial to make sure the goals and deadlines are achievable.
  • Take advantage of apps to help with self-control. University holidays are long, so it’s common for students to lack the self-control necessary to avoid distractions at the beginning of the semester. Apps like Self Control or Cold Turkey allow students to block access to certain sites for an allocated time period. Not only does this remove the distraction, but also helps students determine how long certain tasks can be completed in.
  • Ask for help – tonight! It’s a skill students have to learn – it’s ok to ask for help, all the best students do ask for help. And then – decide what to do with the help you just received. Find the resources you need, even before you need them. Most universities have Studiosity inside the student login. It’s trusted feedback on writing in any subject, and 24/7 study help as well. There are other resources as well, just make sure you find them inside your student login and not on the web, where they are less trustworthy.
  • Look after your most precious asset, time! Every student – in fact everyone, even in the workplace – needs help with time management. Use something like an assignment calculator to enter your assignment dates and decide when to complete certain stages.


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