Why immigrant background matters for university participation: A comparison of Switzerland and Canada

Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng (2016). Why immigrant background matters for university participation: A comparison of Switzerland and Canada. In: Scharenberg, Katja; Hupka-Brunner, Sandra; Meyer, Thomas; Bergman, Manfred Max (eds.) Transitionen im Jugend- und jungen Erwachsenenalter = Transitions des adolescents et des jeunes adultes en Suisse = Transitions in youth and young adulthood study, Vol. 2 (pp. 98-129). Zurich: Seismo

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This article extends our understanding of the difference in university participation between students with and without immigrant backgrounds by contrasting outcomes in Switzerland and Canada. The research includes family socio-demographic characteristics, family aspirations regarding university education, and the students' secondary school performance as explanatory variables of university attendance patterns. The analysis draws on TREE data for Switzerland, on YITS (Youth in Transition Survey) data for Canada. In Switzerland, students with immigrant background are disadvantaged regarding university participation, primarily due to poor academic performance in secondary school. In comparison, students with immigrant background in Canada display a significant advantage regarding university attendance, even among some who performed poorly in secondary school. The included explanatory variables can only partly account for this advantage. Family aspirations regarding university attendance play a significant role, while traditional variables such as parental educational attainment are less important. In both countries, source region background is important. Possible reasons for the cross-country differences are discussed.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology






[1036] Transitions from Education to Employment (TREE) Official URL




David Leander Baumann

Date Deposited:

17 Jun 2019 09:41

Last Modified:

17 Jun 2019 09:41

Additional Information:

Notes: treeanalysis analysis_thirdparty. Date: 2016



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