Landscape Architecture Student Choice: Profession or Provider

Mike Barthelmeh, Dennis Karanja


Secondary school students face many choices about tertiary education. Some will have a career path in mind and choose to attend an institution that offers a relevant programme, while others will choose a programme offered by an institution that has been selected for other reasons. This paper investigates whether students enrolled in one of the three accredited landscape architecture programmes in New Zealand first chose their career rather than first selected an institution. It also reports on the factors that influenced these choices. Ninety-seven first-year landscape architecture students were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire. Seventy-five per cent chose a career in landscape architecture first, rather than first selecting an institution. In choosing a career, extrinsic motivations were more important than family or institutional influences, but institutional influences were more important than family or extrinsic factors when selecting a provider. The main factors influencing choice have implications for the profession; they also have implications for institutions regarding programme distinctiveness. Many factors play a role in these choices, including selection of subjects at school. Survey respondents reported on their choices of subject at secondary school and the usefulness of those subjects to their landscape architecture programme. A particular combination of secondary school courses may be a useful signal for students to consider landscape architecture as a possible career path.

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