“What if we make the wrong choice?” The two-tier study structure and students’ rationales for educational decision-making

As a corollary of the Bologna process, the two-tiered study structure introduced increased freedom of choice for enrolled and prospective university students. This article investigates how Danish university students, within the two-tier system, perform the choices determining their educational and professional futures and focuses on rationales for educational decision-making. The data sample was generated through a series of focus group interviews with undergraduate students. Two predominant rationales were found: “the optimisation of opportunities” and the “quest for closure, security, and employability” rationales. Paradoxically, the two rationales do not exclude each other but co-exist in student contributions to the group talks.

Keywords: Bologna process, higher education, degree structure, educational choice-making