Study on the impact of admission systems on higher education outcomes

Executive summary

Volume I : comparative report 

The subject of this report is European higher education admission systems. Admission is not a simple process which occurs at the end of secondary education. It is a process which may begin from the moment a student is streamed in secondary schooling and end, in some cases, with post-admission selection at the end of the first year of studies. To get to the core of this process, the study focuses on the impact of schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) in the selection process and on how students themselves end up choosing a pathway and a specific institution and programme of study.

The case studies form a crucial part of this study. They provide the detailed insights into how admission systems work and the nature of the relationships between the different stakeholders which drive the differences in equity, efficiency and effectiveness between systems. The eight national case studies described below contain some cross-cutting trends but also show that each admission system is different and individual. Each one contains distinctive insights and examples of practice that could be extended elsewhere and practice that needs to be reviewed. Whilst accepting that each country is different, the goal was to use the eight case studies to try and reflect as far as possible the diversity in higher education admission in Europe in terms of participation and geography and to try and include countries who were developing new initiatives in the field of admissions.