How students are really choosing programs

Statistics Canada survey shows importance of jobs, interests, reputations and more

Dalhousie University’s new president told Maclean’s last fall that while large numbers of his students were seeking career training more were there for other reasons. New numbers from the National Graduates Survey, 2013 back up his point. Around 388,400 graduates who finished school in 2010 were asked by Statistics Canada about why they chose their programs. Four out of five bachelor’s degree holders said “personal interests” were “very important” while only two-thirds said “future employment opportunities” were. Those who attended colleges were more career focused but interests mattered very much too. Meanwhile, reputations were very important to around half of grads and, while parents won’t like to hear it, proximity to home and parents’ and friends’ recommendations mattered much less. This table has the details:

Factors "Very Important" to choice of program College Bachelor's Master's PhD
Future employment opportunities 79% 66% 64% 58%
Personal interest 75% 80% 82% 92%
Parents/friends recommendations 16% 12% 10% 8%
Reputation of program 48% 43% 45% 50%
Reputation of institution 53% 47% 49% 50%
Proximity to home 44% 39% 38% 30%

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