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What are the factors of success at university? A case study in Belgium

Elena Arias and Catherine Dehon ()

No 2008_003, Working Papers ECARES from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: By using a unique dataset containing the entire newly enrolled student population at the University of Brussels (ULB), this case study aims to be the first complete analysis of the determinants that infuence the student's path at university in Belgium. We analyze the probability of succeeding the first year at university in Brussels taking into account individual characteristics, prior schooling and socioeconomic background. Our results show that the socioeconomic background of the student influence success in a significant way. More specifically, the mother's level of education and the father's occupational activity seem to predominate. We observe also a difference in performance between students coming from different high school programs. Indeed, students coming from one of the two high school systems ("traditionnel" and "rénové") existing in Belgium's French Community, present non homegenous results at the end of their first year. In addition and in contrast with some of the literature findings, Belgians and foreigners have the same first year performances if we take into account for their socioeconomic environment. Moreover the same results are obtained when we look at European and non-European students. Nevertheless, when we distinguish foreign students with respect to their level of integration, our analysis show the existence of an "European elite" that comes to Belgium looking for a diploma and that do much better in first year than Belgian students.

Pages: 24 p.
Date: 2008
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eec and nep-sog
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