Which students benefit most from an intervention aimed at reducing academic procrastination?

Gerard J.A. Baars*, Henk G. Schmidt, Peter Hermus, Henk T. van der Molen, Ivo J.M. Arnold, Guus Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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In higher education, many students do not complete their studies within the term allotted. A Dutch university implemented an intervention aimed to reduce this form of academic procrastination. The intervention consisted of three measures: (1) requiring students to acquire all first-year credits within their first year in university, (2) reducing the number of resits, and (3) introducing compensation opportunities for insufficient grades. In this study, we investigated which groups of students (if any) benefited most from this intervention. We divided 29,629 students entering the university between 2009 and 2015 into subgroups based on their gender, ethnic background, and level of achievement during pre-university education. For each subgroup, we determined both first-year completion and three-year bachelor graduation rates, both before and after the introduction of the intervention. It was demonstrated that almost all subgroups profited from the intervention. Particularly students from subgroups that in the past performed less well showed much better first-year completion rates and much lower study delay rates. Dropout rates did not change significantly. For most subgroups, an effect of the intervention was still visible after three years: Three-year graduation rates were higher, although the effect was smaller than completion rates in the first academic year.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Early online date30 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

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