Research into the factors that influence the choice of study programme
Which factors are pivotal when it comes to choosing a study programme? Is it the content of the programme itself or other conditions that finally determine the area of study or the preference for a particular university? In cooperation with EINSTIEG GmbH, the CHE interviewed about 3,600 pupils in their last year at school about their wishes in relation to choosing disciplines and universities, about the use of different sources of information, about the level of information as well as their performance at school. Head of the project Markus F. Langer said: “We would like to complement existing studies on the decision-making behaviour of pupils, in particular in terms of describing common characteristics and the typology based on them, and thus open up new perspectives for higher education marketing.”
Research classifies five types of decision-maker:
Intrinsic altruists largely decide regardless of their own well-being, though the development of personality is important for them. They have a distinctive sense of fairness. Opportunities for a professional career play a subordinate role when deciding on a study programme.
Homebird hedonists generally place individual well-being in the focus of their decision. More than any other type, leisure time and atmosphere as well as being close to home and their parents are more important for them. Own interests and talents are least important for this type.
Service-oriented independent individuals completely set aside the study location as decisive factor. Core factors for them are tutoring and service at the higher education institution. Own interests and talents are more important for this type than for the first two types.
High-performing, career-minded individuals clearly concentrate on their own interests and talents when deciding on a study programme and above all focus on the prospects of a professional career in the future. For this type, all other criteria play a subordinate role. Apart from proximity to home and parents, there are no other key decision-making factors.
Hedonistic, career-minded individuals also concentrate on their own interests and talents when deciding on a study programme. They put the same emphasis on the prospects of a future professional career as high-performing, career-minded individuals.
Despite a largely heterogeneous situation in the process and motives for the selection of university and study discipline, we can identify common features that offer starting points for student counselling as well as for effective and efficient higher education marketing.
The interviews also reveal that shortly before finishing school the level of information concerning their opportunities for study programmes is poor among most pupils.
On 27th September 2007, EINSTIEG GmbH will arrange a symposium on “Competitive strategies in the light of the attitude towards information among final-year pupils”. The findings of this study alongside others will be presented at the symposium.