Student choices: Choices changing along with favoured locations

There are already signs that student choices are swinging in unpredictable ways this year, with applications to some institutions up and others heavily down. The Independent survey gives the first clear indication of the way families are thinking of adapting to the new regime over the next few years.

Only 28 per cent of those interviewed considered that the course itself was the most important factor to consider when making an application. Parents and students in social classes A and B were much more likely to make this the first consideration than those from working-class homes. Mothers rated it less highly as a factor than fathers.

The next most important factor was the standard or level of education, rated as most important by 20 per cent of those responding. But this was only marginally ahead of university location, which is now regarded as an important issue, especially by mothers and daughters, and by social classes C2, D and E.

A university's reputation was only regarded as an important factor by 12 per cent of respondents.

The length of course was important to only 4 per cent of students interviewed.

Parents regarded employability after graduation as a more important factor in choosing a course than prospective students did.

59 per cent of parents will be more likely in future to suggest that their student children live at home, with mothers and working-class parents most in favour of this option.

24 per cent of parents will also encourage their children to avoid subjects which entail longer courses than normal.

A majority of parents are likely to encourage their children to choose more vocational courses.

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