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„Future and Career plans before before high school graduation“ (ZuBAb study)

A cooperation project between the University of Cologne and the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)

Principal investigators
: Prof. Dr. Marita Jacob (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger and Prof. Dr. Marcel Helbig (WZB)
Research assistants
: Melinda Erdmann (WZB), Irena Pietrzyk (WZB), Dr. Stefan Stuth (WZB)
Student assistants: Lolita Kabasele (University of Cologne), Sarah Tell (WZB)
Funding institution: Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia
Duration: 2016 – 2020

Contact at the University of Cologne
Study "Future and Career plans before before high school graduation"
University of Cologne
Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS)
Greinstr. 2
D-50939 Cologne

0221 470 2341

Aim of the project

The study “Future and Career plans before before high school graduation” (Zukunfts- und Berufspläne vor dem Abitur (ZuBAb)) aims to capture the post-school future plans of today's high school students. How can the realization of these plans be supported? A panel survey (four waves in three years) assesses the respondents' plans, the modification of these plans and their educational trajectories. Additionally, the impact of the Talentscouting NRW advisory service, which is offered to some of the schools participating in the ZuBAb study, will be investigated.

The talent scouting program

Talent scouting is an intensive and long-term counselling program for high school students with the goal to reduce social inequality in the realization of educational aspirations. It is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. 14 universities in NRW currently send trained consultants ("talent scouts") to over 100 grammar schools, vocational colleges and comprehensive schools. They support students, ideally without an academic background, on their way to university in individual and open-ended counseling sessions. If necessary, external experts are consulted, special competence enhancement courses or detailed information on options for finacial aid (for college) and applying for a place at universities are offered.


On the one hand, the research project examines which factors influence the educational decisions of high school students (e.g. socio-emotional components; cost, benefit, success considerations; neighbourhood effects). On the other hand, the impact of participation in Talent Scouting NRW on the educational trajectories of the participating students (e.g. start of studies, performance, self-efficacy expectations, cost, benefit and success assessments of a course of study) is analyzed.