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M.J. Mairata, M. Palou, J.J. Montaño, M. Servera

University of Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
The main purpose of this study was to form a skill-based profile of students beginning an official first degree course at the University of the Balearic Islands, in order to adapt the implementation of new curricula to the students’ real characteristics.

An exploratory and descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted of students enrolled to study the first year of a degree course during academic year 2009-2010. From the total number of enrolled students, a sample of 1965 subjects (73.60%) was obtained.

To compile the data, a questionnaire was used to identify their sociodemographic characteristics, interests, motivation, skills, language proficiency, and level of satisfaction with the information they had received.

Among the main findings, a profile was observed characterized by a predominance of female students, mostly young people aged 18. They have a good level of proficiency in terms of organization and planning, teamwork and the ability to adapt to new situations. In contrast, the shortcomings that the students perceived included knowledge of a foreign language, the ability to work in an international context and a lack of leadership.

The results will allow for the development of an institutional-support model aimed at first-year students in order to facilitate the university adaptation process and avoid the high dropout rate in higher education.