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Peer, Sibling and Parent Influences on HEI Choice


The literature review above suggests there are many factors that influence an individual’s choice of HEI. In this section we consider three such factors, namely peer, sibling and parent influences, using new data from a recent survey for Ireland. We also consider what factors are associ?ated with a student’s decision to live at home while in higher education, including the role of peer and parent influences.


The data analysed is from a national survey of Leaving Certificate students in Ireland, conducted in late 2015. The survey is the first of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland and focused mainly on identifying which attributes/characteristics of HEIs are most valued by prospective students, using a DCE. The sampling frame for the survey was taken from the Department of Education and Skills website which contains a full list of all secondary schools in Ireland. A sample of schools was chosen to be broadly representative across a number of dimensions, including geographic location, school size, DEIS status and gender enrolment mix. The survey questionnaire was distributed in person and Leaving Certificate students were asked to complete the survey during class time. In total, 1105 Leaving Certificate students from 34 schools took part in the study. Each student completed a DCE that examined the relative importance of HEI attributes in determining institution choice. They also provided information on their plans for higher education, and what factors might influence their decisions, while the survey also gathered information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the students. This section focuses on responses to a selection of questions relating to peer, sibling and parent influences, while Sect. 4.4 provides a summary overview of the findings from the DCE. For more details of the survey, see Walsh et al. (2017).

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