The ‘NEXT STEP niederrhein’ project is aimed at students who are having doubts about their studies or who are playing with the idea of leaving university altogether. The subject, the university or even studying as a form of learning can be generally questioned.

In Germany, 27 per cent of all Bachelor students at universities of applied sciences drop out without a degree. The three most common reasons for this are performance problems during studies (30% of early leavers), lack of motivation to study (17%) and the desire for more practical work (15%; DZHW Student Early Leaver Study 2016 by Heublein et al.).

Performance problems
Lack of motivation
Desire for more practical work

Early leavers

In their day-to-day life, students quite often doubt their choice to study, and in the best case these doubts help them determine their current position, check their intended path and make a course correction if necessary. This is where ‘NEXT STEP niederrhein’ comes in with its various orientation tools and aids. With this website we offer students the opportunity to a gauge their position without any time or location restraints, find important information and also help to deal with their doubts. Students can decide which information they need and if they need personal help, they can find information about contact persons. We offer unsure students individual coaching and accompany them throughout their reorientation process and also, if they decide to leave university, help them find a new perspective. The project also focuses on developing additional and new forms of assistance for dealing with doubts during studying and also leaving university before their degree programmes are finished, e.g. materials for self-reflection and special seminars at the university campuses. If you have doubts about your studies, you will be given support at an early stage to help you obtain your degree or find suitable career alternatives. Furthermore ‘NEXT STEP niederrhein’ would also like to inform companies about the potential of early university leavers.

The four project objectives


Transparent information on perspectives and options for unsure students and the services of a counselling network


Individual coaching options and thematic group events for unsure students


Expanding the possibilities for recognition and crediting of academic achievements if students switch universities or commence training

Breaking taboos

Breaking the taboo of doubting the decision to study and breaking off a degree programme within general society and the university

Project management

Implementation, planning and responsibility for the project lies jointly with the Rhine-Waal (HSRW) and Niederrhein (HN) universities, which act as project partners in the network. At the HSRW the project is led by Prof. Dr. Jörg Petri and at the HN jointly by Désirée Krüger and Melanie Oeben.

(HSRW) and Désirée Krüger (HN) are responsible for coaching and internal university questions. (HSRW) and Melanie Oeben (HN) are the contact persons for cooperation projects and events. If you have any questions on the project, we would be pleased to assist you.