Factors Affecting Post-Secondary Pathway Choices
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University has long been considered the gold standard for post-secondary education. This study used a survey of current post-secondary students enrolled in a science or engineering program at an Ontario university in order to determine what factors were most influential in their decisions to choose their university and program of study. Thirty-nine respondents from two Ontario universities provided both quantitative and qualitative data to assess that the most important factors for choosing their program of study. The top factors were cost, employment prospects after graduation and reputation of the institution. Despite the overwhelming previous research that points to the influence of educators, parents/guardians and peers, students did not identify these groups as having a profound effect on their decision-making. In addition to these factors, respondents almost exclusively considered the university pathway, ignoring college and apprenticeship pathways, suggesting that reputation and environmental influence are significant, but appear invisible to the student.