Future and career plans before high school graduation (ZuBAb study)


Aim of the project

The study “Future and Career plans 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.

Main content


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.

Selected Publications

Erdmann, Melinda/Pietrzyk, Irena/Schneider, Juliana/Helbig, Marcel/Jacob, Marita/ Allmendinger, Jutta (2022): Bildungsungleichheit nach der Hochschulreife – das lässt sich ändern. Eine Untersuchung der Wirksamkeit eines intensiven Beratungsprogramms 1,5 Jahre nach dem Abitur, WZB Discussion Paper, P 2022-002, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. https://bibliothek.wzb.eu/pdf/2022/p22-002.pdf

Erdmann, Melinda/Pietrzyk, Irena/Helbig, Marcel/Jacob, Marita/Stuth, Stefan (2022): Do intensive guidance programs reduce social inequality in the transition to higher education in Germany? Experimental evidence from the ZuBAb study 0.5 years after high school graduation, WZB Discussion Paper, P 2022-001, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. https://bibliothek.wzb.eu/pdf/2022/p22-001.pdf

Erdmann, Melinda/Pietrzyk, Irena/Schneider, Juliana/Helbig, Marcel/Jacob, Marita/ Allmendinger, Jutta (2022): Soziale Ungleichheit beim Hochschulzugang verringern. Intensive Beratung fördert die Passung zwischen Potenzialen und Bildungsentscheidungen, WZBrief Bildung 45, Februar 2022, Berlin: WZB. http://bibliothek.wzb.eu/wzbrief-bildung/WZBriefBildung452022_erdmann_helbig_jacob_petrzyk_schneider_allmendinger.pdf

Erdmann, Melinda/Helbig, Marcel/Stuth, Stefan (2021): Lehrende als Gatekeeper für externe Förderprogramme im Bildungssystem. Eine Analyse von Fremdselektionsprozessen bei der Schülerauswahl anhand einer Bildungsintervention. Soziale Welt: Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung und Praxis. 72. 255-282. https://doi.org/10.5771/0038-6073-2021-3-255

Pietrzyk, Irena/Erdmann, Melinda (2019): Investigating the impact of interventions on educational disparities: Estimating average treatment effects (ATEs) is not sufficient. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, online first. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rssm.2019.100471  

Pietrzyk, Irena/Allmendinger, Jutta/Erdmann, Melinda/Helbig, Marcel/Jacob, Marita/Stuth, Stefan (2019): Future and Career Plans Before High School Graduation (ZuBAb). Background, Research Questions and Research Design, WZB Discussion Paper, P 2019-004, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. https://bibliothek.wzb.eu/pdf/2019/p19-004.pdf