Reputation of Post-Secondary Institution the Driving Factor for Canadians in Choosing What College or University to Attend

Reputation (90%), Acceptance (86%), Program (85%) and Experience (75%) Lead as Most Important Factors

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Toronto, ON – Nine in ten (90%) Canadians with at least some post-secondary education say that the reputation of the college or university that they attended was an important (52% very/38% somewhat) factor for them in determining where they went to school, making it the most important factor from a list of eleven tested, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted in support of its Canadian Higher Education Reputation Syndicated Study:

That reputation of the post-secondary institution is the most important factor which drives where prospective students choose to go is understandable, considering that many of the other factors tested would feed into its reputation.

Following reputation of the college or university, the next two most-important factors include being accepted to study at the institution (86%) and having the best program in the field in which they wanted to study (85%).

Listed below are all the factors that were tested and their relative level of importance.

(Click to enlarge image)

The data reveal some interesting demographic differences:

  • Those with a degree are more likely (55%) than those with some post-secondary education or a college diploma (48%) to say that receiving a scholarship was important in their decision.
  • Reputation is more important among women (93%) than men (86%). Women are also more likely (89%) than men (80%) to say that it was important that the college or university had the best program in the field in which they wanted to study.
  • Men (37%) are more likely than women (29%) to say that the fact that many of their friends were attending the same college or university was an important factor. Men (14%) are also more likely than women (8%) to be influenced by the fact that a parent also went to that same college or university.
  • Having the best program in its field was particularly important for Ontarians (90%), compared to those who live in Quebec (86%), Alberta (82%), British Columbia (80%), Atlantic Canada (80%), and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (75%).

In each region of the country, however, reputation of the university or college was the leading factor.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid survey in which a sample of 1,105 Canadians with some post-secondary education from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points had all Canadians adults with post-secondary education been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Pina Pejovic, PhD
Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 85 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,789 billion (2.300 billion USD) in 2012.

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Reputation of Post-Secondary Institution the Driving Factor for Canadians in Choosing What College or University to Attend


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs