Cornelia Kristen, David Reimer, Irena Kogan
Higher education entry of Turkish immigrant youth in Germany

International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 2008: 49, issue 2-3, p. 127–151
ISSN: 1568-5187

Drawing on three large datasets from the German Higher Education Information System Institute (HIS) from 1990, 1994 and 1999, the study reveals that Turkish youth are considerably more likely than Germans to enter tertiary education. This result sharply contrasts with findings on the Turks’ poor performance in primary and secondary school. The higher propensity for tertiary education among Turks can, to some degree, be explained by their lack of familiarity with the German system of dual vocational training and their educational motivation. Another important finding is that among those who enter higher education students of Turkish origin choose, more often than Germans, academically oriented universities rather than the lower-tier applied science universities. This is mainly due to the selection of more traditional fields offered at universities by Turkish young adults. Our results indicate that the educational decisions of these students after the Abitur by no means contribute to the established pattern of ethnic disadvantages in educational attainment in Germany.