LIST OF RESEARCH ON WHY STUDENTS CHOOSE SPECIFIC
Sources that are relevant include:
1. Connor H, Burton R, Pearson R, Pollard
E and Regan, J (1999) "Making the Right Choice. How Students
Choose Universities and Colleges". Institute for Employment
Social studies attracts a higher proportion
of older people (over 21) than physical sciences or humanities.
By gender, women now form the majority share of total applications
via UCAS to full time courses, but they are still seriously under
represented in engineering/technology (only 12% are women).
The study found that the right course is the
most important criterion guiding aspiring students' choice of
where to study. This is endorsed by other research, eg UNITE/MORI
2004, YCS HE module cohort 10 sweep 2, Connor et al 2001b
and Davies et al 2002.
Those applicants who preferred science subjects
rather than the arts or social sciences were more inclined to
cite research reputation and employment prospects as more important
factors in their choice of institution.
2. Connor H, Pearson R, Pollard E, Tyers
C and Willison R, (2001a) "The Right Choice?":
a follow-up to "Making the Right Choice" Institute
for Employment Studies, UUK.
The study found familiar patterns of subject
participation by various characteristics. Science/engineering/technology
courses were more popular among; males, younger students, Asian
students and those coming from comprehensive schools.
The study found few apparent differences in
choice of subject according to whether the applicants had familial
experience of HE.
3. Connor H, and Dewson S, with Tyers, C,
Eccles, J, Regan J, and Aston, J, (2001b) "Social Class
and Higher Education: Issues Affecting Participation by Lower
Social Class groups" DfEE Research Report No 246.
This report found that current full-time students
had chosen their subject or course mainly out of interest but
also for career reasons (and that there was little difference
by social class in the reasons given).
4. Davies P, Osborne M, and Williams J,
(2002) "For me or not for methat is the question.
A study of mature students' decision-making and higher education"
DfES Research Report 297.
This report found that over two thirds of potential
mature entrants said that their choice of HEI was influenced by
the structure/mode of study/timetabling of the course.
5. Dearing Report 2, (1997) "Students
motives aspirations and choices".
The report found that the most cited reason
as to why students had chosen their course was because they liked
it and the subjects it covered. However this reason was given
a lot more by full-time as opposed to part-time students.
Students' reasons for choosing their course
were grouped into four distinct categories:
(i) Intellectualrelated primarily
to their intrinsic interest in the course, the subjects covered,
and the academic standing of the course and institution;
(ii) Pragmaticrelated principally
to practical issues such as the part-time structure of the course,
proximity to home, etc;
(iii) Instrumentalassociated with
the outcomes of the course and especially, students' longer term
job and career prospects;
(iv) Fatalisticrelated to negative
reasons such as being the only place offered.
The report found that the majority of full time
students opted for their course for predominantly intellectual
reasons. Part time students were more mixed in their response,
but were mostly pragmatic.
6. Callender C, (2003) "Attitudes
to debt, School leavers' and further education students' attitudes
to debt and their impact on participation in higher education"
Callender (2003) found that amongst potential
entrants the costs of going to university led half to apply to
universities nearer their homes and nearly two-fifths were taking
a subject with better employment prospects.
7. Mason G, (1999), "The Labour
Market for Engineering Science and IT Graduates: Are there Mismatches
between Supply and Demand?" DFEE Research Report 112.
This report draws on interviews conducted with
sixth form students, which suggests that one reason for the low
take up of SET subjects is due to their poor "image",
with opinions of certain occupations conforming to well known
8. Brooks R, (2002), "Edinburgh,
Exeter, East Londonor Unemployment? A review of young people's
higher education choices", Educational Research, Vol
44, No 2, pp217-227.
This article concludes that young people's access
to and interpretation of information is often patterned by their
gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. It therefore recommends
that research needs to be moved beyond absorption of information
to look at the construction of socially differentiated dispositions
9. Brennan J, et al, (1999), "PartTime
Students and Employment: Report of a Survey of Students, Graduates
and Diplomates". www.dfes.gov.uk/dfee/heqe/ousubstanfinal.doc
This study of part-time students found that
32% of those identified as being most career orientated in their
studies chose engineering, technology or building courses. It
also found within their sample that slightly more females studied
sciences, (due to the presence of subjects allied to medicine
within this category) whilst a much higher proportion of males
followed courses in engineering, technology and building.
10. UK Secondary Pupils' Perceptions of
Science and EngineeringProject Reference 6201.
This project aims to identify the key issues
involved in young people's decision making processes when choosing
further study and careers;
as part of this overarching aim it will identify
key issues regarding the decrease of young people opting to study
science and engineering post compulsory schooling.