This paper investigates the possibility of identifying potential non-graduates, using information obtained before entry to university. Statistical analysis of a sample of the 1979 entry cohort to Lancaster University indicates that the likelihood of non-completion is determined by various characteristics, the main ones being the student's academic ability (reflected by A level results), his work experience prior to coming to university, his school background and the location of his home in relation to the university. An examination of wastage separately amongst males and females identifies striking differences between the two groups in the characteristics associated with non-completion. Further analysis of the sample as a whole reveals that a vast improvement in the prediction of non-completion can be achieved by using the results of first-year examinations at university rather than A level results. The main conclusion is that raising the academic requirements for entry into university may not be the most appropriate method for reducing wastage rates.