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Malaysia: Applying to University

New poll shows ‘flighty’ millennials as more intelligent in educational choices


A recent poll conducted by Han Chiang College has revealed that close to 70% of students agree that parents heavily influence the courses they wish to pursue and their choice of colleges and universities.  


This clears stereotypical views that millennials, or better known as generation Y, who are often perceived as having no respect for authority and want the freedom to do whatever they want, have been misunderstood. The high percentage of children who value advice from parents, shows that students still seek help although they often claim to want independence.    


The students, who are both college and non-college students, say that friends come a close second at 64% while counsellors at just slightly over 60%.


Interestingly, non college students reveal that going to college or university is down to their parents’ wishes and because everyone does it. The number however, decreases from 60% to 50%. This could be due to the fact that school-going students feel pressured to conform, but change their minds over time after experiencing what university life has to offer.


The study challenges clichéd beliefs that students these days, seem indifferent about their studies. At 74%, college and school students are focused on working towards a bright future and the same number agrees that they are interested in developing new talents and discovering themselves in college. Surprisingly, the students do not consider it top priority to enrich their social lives on campus, ranking that at the bottom of the table.


It is also evident that institutions that have affiliations with universities abroad, is a huge driving factor when students consider a college or university. About 69% of college and non college students agree that a foreign university name makes a higher learning institution more attractive.


There is a close link between the college students’ preference for institutions with university connections abroad and highly trained lecturers. This shows that college students who have been exposed to teaching modules and techniques, know that these factors improve quality education, superseding other positive attributes like university reputation and a list of top alumni. 


Taking a leap from school to college or university is no more seen as a life-changing decision as students generally agree that they are not worried about their new environment. This could be due to their exposure to educational fairs where students receive advice on the support that higher learning institutions offer.


It is evident from the poll that today’s generation Y are more confident and have better social skills to function in a new environment. Nevertheless, their confidence must not be misconstrued as being self-reliant and independent as they still need the guidance of parents and counsellors who are older and more experienced. Their exposure to a wider social circle, the internet and shift in preferences have made them more mature in thoughts, hence, the ability to weigh the importance of education and the factors to be considered.  



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An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.


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