NFER Pupil Voice April 2012

Robert Smith, Bernadetta Brzyska

09 August 2012

The Sutton Trust commissioned the NFER to survey 1000 pupils in year 10-13 in England about their aspirations and plans for Higher Education. The main findings revolved around the topic of funding and fees for going to university, the types of university that they are applying to, and their subject choices.

Key Findings

  • Tuition fees and the overall cost of going to university were by far the most common factors reported by students from England, who said that they were unlikely to go to university, including those in year 13 who had not applied. However, three quarters of the year 10-12 student surveyed said that they were likely to go to university, and a similar proportion of year 13s had already applied
  • Year 10 and 11 pupils identified the reputation of the university (55%), the overall cost of studying there (38%) and the subjects offered (34%) as the main factors influencing their university choices
  • Pupils intended to apply to a wide spectrum of the universities listed, but although 41 per cent of the year 13s in the survey who had applied to a university had considered applying for Oxford or Cambridge, only 16 per cent had done so. A quarter of year 12 students who wanted to go to university said they were considering applying to Oxbridge
  • Pupils said they were likely to study a range of subjects, with biological sciences being the most common choice. The other most popular choices across all year groups were Medicine and Dentistry (8%), Mathematical and Computer Sciences (7%), Law (7%) and Creative Arts and Design (7%).