University study not always based on secondary school profile

15/05/2007 15:00

Pupils in pre-university education (vwo) in the Netherlands often – but not always - choose a university study that connects up well with the profile (subject cluster) they choose after year 3.
For the profiles economics and society, and culture and society the connection is strong, for the profiles natural sciences and health, and natural sciences and technology, it is weaker.

Strong relationship for economics and society

Nearly nine out of ten pupils doing the economics and society profile chose a study in a related field in 2006. Boys mostly opted for economics (56 percent), girls for social sciences or law (49 percent).

Culture and society also shows strong correlation

Many pupils doing the culture and society profile also went on to study a related subject. Over eight out of ten enrolled for social sciences, language, history or law.  
Four out of five pupils choosing this profile are girls. Fifty-five percent of them went on to do social sciences or law at university; for boys with this profile this was 48 percent. A surprising proportion of boys (40 percent) enrolled for a language or history study.

More variation for natural sciences and health

For pupils with the natural sciences and health profile, the university choices were more diverse: 48 percent of them chose a health care study, 18 percent natural sciences, mathematics or engineering. One in five chose a completely different direction and went on to do social sciences, law or economics.
Girls doing this profile were most likely to choose a health care discipline (53 percent), with only 13 percent of them choosing natural sciences. For boys these percentages were 40 and 27 respectively.

Transfer from school to university: natural sciences and health profile, 2006

Transfer from school to university: natural sciences and health profile, 2006

Two-thirds of natural sciences and technology pupils choose science

Two-thirds of pupils with the natural sciences and technology profile chose a science discipline at university. For boys – by far the majority in this profile – 67 percent went on to a science discipline, for girls in this profile this was 43 percent. Nearly one in five girls went on to do a medical discipline.

Transfer from school to university: natural sciences and technology profile, 2006

Transfer from school to university: natural sciences and technology profile, 2006

Dick Takkenberg and Kasper van der Heide