Non-Cognitive Characteristics and Higher Education Choices

  • Ksenia Rozhkova HSE University
  • Sergey Roshchin HSE University
Keywords: higher education, locus of control, human capital theory, non-cognitive skills, the Big Five personality traits


Non-cognitive skills, shaped by genetics and early socialization experiences, are an important component of human capital that affects a number of social and economic outcomes throughout the life course, including individual educational choices. This study is focused on the contribution of non-cognitive skills to higher education trajectories: intention to study in college, probability of going to college, major choice, and college selectivity. The study uses data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics (RLMSHSE) for 2011 and 2016–2018. Non-cognitive skills are measured using the Big Five personality traits and locus of control, the two most prominent psychological concepts in the field. Educational intentions of adolescents aged 15–19 and past educational choices of young people aged 23–29 are analyzed using probit models and multinomial and ordinal logistic regressions. The psychological traits of openness to experience, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and internal locus of control are found to be the most powerful factors affecting educational intentions and choices, but results vary as a function of gender and socioeconomic characteristics.


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How to Cite
Rozhkova, Ksenia, and Sergey Roshchin. 2021. “Non-Cognitive Characteristics and Higher Education Choices”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (December), 35-73.
Theoretical and Applied Research