If a child knows by the age of ten that they want to attend university, they are more likely to enrol at a selective institution, a new study has revealed.
The research, which was conducted by the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS), showed that 35 per cent of people attending the most selective universities knew they would apply before they even left primary school. In contrast, 13 per cent of people at these institutions didn't decide until they reached the ages of 16 to 19.
Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS chief executive said: "This report is clear - the earlier children set their sights on university, the more likely they are to go."
In addition, the study also highlighted that those from advantaged backgrounds are very focused on university, while those from poorer families think much less often about their higher education.
"Having a focus on university helps provide the rationale for working hard and doing well at GCSEs, which is the strongest predictor of success in higher education," Ms Cook stated.
"We need to reset the barometer reading for progression to higher education to a much earlier age - ten or younger."
Students who were asked why they chose not to apply to a university with a much more difficult admissions process cited grade requirements (49 per cent), their course not being offered (41 per cent), the cost of living (20 per cent) and fitting in with other students (eight per cent) as the key reasons.