Studies: First in the lecture hall

Children from non-academic homes rarely attend university. However, the universities are only partly responsible for this.


    Support? At first, he did not get much out of his family environment, says Julian Weissler. When he told his parents a few years ago that he wanted to study after graduation, his father said only: "Wennst moanst!" What you just say, if you come from a 3000-inhabitant village on the Bavarian-Austrian border. "But I really wanted to continue my education after graduation, and after a while all of them have become friends," says Weissler.


    For the mid-twenties, who actually means otherwise, the way to the university was not exactly predetermined. The father is a master painter, as well as the older brother, the mother sits in the local supermarket at the cash register and the sister is training as a bank clerk. In the family, says Weissler, the question in the room is unspoken: is not our life good enough for you now that you want to go to Munich? Weissler says: "That was a strange feeling, as the first student in the family."

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The children from non-academic families find their way to the universities is still rare – at least compared to their classmates whose parents have already graduated from high school. And even if it works, studying for the new graduate students is often bumpy. A few numbers:


    Of the total of 100 non-academic children, 21 are studying, compared to 74 with academics. This process is called the funnel, and according to the Higher Education Report, this funnel continues to narrow during study. While ten percent of children from academia families eventually achieve a doctorate, non-academics are only one percent.
 The proportion of students who take on a part-time job during the semester varies according to the source of their education – albeit much less: 69 percent of students from non-academic families and 64 percent of university graduates, according to the latest social survey.
 The reason why a university graduation is canceled depends on the family background. Half of those who drop out due to career alternatives or personal reasons, come from a graduate school. By contrast, 72 percent of students who were unable to continue their studies for financial reasons have no university parents. This has been found out by the German Center for Higher Education and Science Research.
Julian Weissler also had difficulties finding his way from the beginning. The move from the village to Munich has already brought a lot of changes, in addition to the unfamiliar university canon of chores, papers, library visits. "Of course I had previously learned how the study is structured, where I have to be when," says Weissler. "But sometimes I felt a little lost in my studies, and my classmates seemed to be getting along much more easily with the new situation than I did."