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How do young Polish men and women choose a university?

How do young Polish men and women choose a university?

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
14.06.2024 11:00

We will soon find out the results of this year's Matura exams, and the university admissions process will begin. What factors do young people consider when choosing a university and a major?

The IPC Research Institute, commissioned by the Wroclaw University of Technology, examined the factors secondary school graduates consider when choosing their future life paths. More than 1,100 young people from across Poland were asked whether they planned to pursue further studies and, if so, what was most important to them when selecting a field of study. The IPC surveyed male and female students in secondary and technical school's third and fourth grades.

The decline in young people pursuing higher education

The survey "Leaping into Adulthood: Values, Ambitions, and Plans of Senior Secondary School Students" revealed that 53.5% of young people are determined to attend university. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kamil Staniec, Vice-Chancellor for Education at the Wroclaw University of Technology, interpreted these results: "As recently as 2018, as many as 95% of secondary school graduates wanted to pursue higher education, and now we are observing a clear downward trend. The belief that a university degree guarantees a good job has waned. The labour market increasingly values professionals who may not have a university degree. Additionally, young people might be disillusioned with the traditional style of education in secondary and primary schools."

More than 30% of this year's secondary school graduates and their younger peers have not yet decided whether to continue their education at university. Meanwhile, 15% do not intend to study, arguing that they do not feel it is necessary for their career development and would prefer to gain practical experience instead.

The location of a university is a crucial factor when choosing it.

People determined to attend university are very pragmatic in their decisions. The most important factor when choosing a university is its location, as indicated by 58.2% of respondents. A key reason for this may be the inability to afford the costs associated with moving or commuting. Many people cited financial issues as the main obstacle to pursuing their preferred educational path.

When selecting a university, a study programme that aligns with their preferences and interests is essential to 46.6% of respondents. Additionally, qualified teaching staff is a valued asset for 30% of young people. Universities offering international exchange programmes or partnerships with foreign universities and companies are highly regarded. Career development advice is also significant; students expect the university to support them not only during their studies but also after graduation by assisting them in finding employment.

The most popular fields of study in Poland

The most popular majors among respondents are:

  • Economic studies: 22.6%
  • Administrative studies: 19.6%
  • Psychology studies: 18.5%

In the survey, young people were also asked about their expectations from their chosen field of study. The most frequently chosen response (52.4%) was to acquire the specialised knowledge and skills necessary for their chosen professional field. Additionally, 39.2% of respondents expect their major to provide them with practical skills applicable in the workplace. For 30.2%, personal development and cultivating interests outside the main area of study are also important.

Source: Press Release

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