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

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  • Elena Arias
  • Catherine Dehon

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Arias & Catherine Dehon, 2008. "What are the factors of success at university? A case study in Belgium," Working Papers ECARES 2008_003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2008_003
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    Cited by:

    1. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Pure ethnic gaps in educational attainment and school to work transitions: When do they arise?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 276-294.
    2. Bea Cantillon & Annemieke De Ridder & Eva Vanhaecht & Gerlinde Verbist, 2010. "(Un)desirable Effects of Output Funding for Flemish Universities," Working Papers 1005, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    3. repec:oup:cesifo:v:54:y:2008:i:2:p:99-120. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:oup:cesifo:v:54:y:2008:i:2:p:177-203. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Danilowicz-Gösele, Kamila & Meya, Johannes & Schwager, Robert & Suntheim, Katharina, 2014. "Determinants of students' success at university," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 214, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Baert, Stijn & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Vermeir, Aurélie, 2015. "Mister Sandman, bring me good marks! On the relationship between sleep quality and academic achievement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 91-98.
    7. Frederick van der Ploeg & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2008. "Towards Evidence-based Reform of European Universities," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 99-120.
    8. Stijn Baert & Frank W. Heiland & Sanders Korenman, 2016. "Native-Immigrant Gaps in Educational and School-to-Work Transitions in the 2nd Generation: The Role of Gender and Ethnicity," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(2), pages 159-186, June.
    9. Cantillon, B. & De Ridder, A. & Vanhaecht, E. & Verbist, G., 2011. "(Un)desirable effects of output funding for Flemish universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1059-1072, October.

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