Research in Higher Education

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 781–800

How do students choose a university?: an analysis of applications to universities in Ontario, Canada


DOI: 10.1007/s11162-006-9015-6

Cite this article as:
Drewes, T. & Michael, C. Res High Educ (2006) 47: 781. doi:10.1007/s11162-006-9015-6


This study uses a unique set of microdata on university applications to examine the role played by institutional attributes in choices made by graduating high school students between the 17 universities in the Province of Ontario, Canada. We estimate a rank-ordered logit model that uses all information contained in each applicant’s ranking of institutions. Applicants prefer universities that are closer to their homes, spend more on scholarships and teaching, and offer higher levels of non-academic student services. Smaller class sizes are preferred by female applicants but not by males. High levels of research activity discourage applications. Smaller, primarily undergraduate institutions suffer from a low placing in the annual national university rankings but larger universities do not.


rank-ordered logituniversity choicesschool characteristicsCanada

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  2. 2.Institutional ResearchTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada