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

  • Elena Arias
  • Catherine Dehon

By using a unique data set containing the entire newly enrolled student population at the University of Brussels, this case study aims to be the first complete analysis of the determinants that influence the student's; path at university in Belgium. We analyse 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 existing in Belgium's; French Community ("traditionnel" and "rénove"), present non-homogenous 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 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 shows the existence of a "European elite" that comes to Belgium looking for a diploma and that do much better in their first year than Belgian students. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich. All rights reserved.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/13348.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: C E S - I F O Economic Studies (2008) v.54 n° 2,p.121-148
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/13348
Note: SCOPUS: ar.j
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