Currently, more than half of those graduating from high school each year have obtained this university entrance qualification and the annual intake of university students has doubled in the past 15 years. Of these new students, however, 29 per cent break off their studies prematurely. This shows that not every freshman or –woman has made the best choice. This raises the question as to which factors influence school leavers’ decisions to take a university degree, and how this decision process could be optimized. An analysis of the National Educational Panel Study(NEPS) shows that in addition to their interests, young people are influenced by the sources of information available and – particularly in the case of vocational education and training (VET) - the expected benefits. For example, young people of an artistic bent tend to opt for university rather than VET. Conversely, high school leavers seeking a secure and prestigious occupation are more likely to opt for vocational training. In addition, careers advice plays an important role. To counteract the current lack of information and to ensure that school leavers make an informed choice between vocational education and training and tertiary education, secondary schools and vocational counselling in senior high school should in future cater for all interests and inclinations and provide more balanced and overall more practical information about the two career paths.