New students stick to their home turf
Location is key in college choice
For many students, going to university or college offers the first real opportunity to assert their independence and move away from the family home.
An analysis of data compiled by the Sunday Independent, however, suggests that the vast majority of those who progress to third level tend to gravitate towards universities and institutes of higher education in close proximity to the secondary school in which they did their Leaving Certificate.
A good example of this tendency by students to stay close to home arises with the schools located in the Dublin 14 postal code.
According to the statistics for the years 2009 to 2015, 83pc of those who sat their Leaving Certificate in schools such as Mount Anville, De La Salle College in Churchtown and Loreto Beaufort in Rathfarnham went on to university or another third level institution in Dublin.
A further breakdown of the figure shows that 32pc of Leaving Certificate students from Dublin 14 took up a university place in the same postal code by deciding to pursue their third level education at UCD.
The picture is much the same for those who attended a secondary school in Dublin 4, with 74pc of those who took up places in third level education following their Leaving Certificate opting for a university or other institute of technology in the capital.
Once again, UCD proved to be the biggest draw with 31pc of college goers from top flight boys' schools such as St Michael's and St Conleth's and girls' schools such as Muckross Park College hopping on the number 10 or 46A, or increasingly, taking the short drive to the Belfield campus.
In the Dublin 18 postal code area, which includes schools such as the all-girls' Loreto Foxrock, Cabinteely Community School and St Laurence's College in Loughlinstown, 60pc of those who advanced to third level following their Leaving Certificate exams went to a university or college in Dublin.
The lion's share, or 35pc of this cohort, took up places in UCD (27pc) and Trinity College Dublin (8pc).
This tendency to stay close to home is replicated outside Dublin with 58pc of those students in Cork entering third level education opting for UCC (34pc) or the Cork Institute of Technology (24pc).
And 48pc of those who progress to third level from schools in Galway meanwhile choose to study in either NUI Galway (30pc) or the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (18pc).
Outside of the country's major centres of population, the preference of students to remain at home while pursuing their third level education is also evident.
In Donegal for example, 26pc of students who pursued further studies upon completion of their Leaving took up places in Letterkenny Institute of Technology in the years between 2009 and 2015.
In Co Louth, 29pc of students who progressed to third level enrolled at the Dundalk Institute of Technology.
One notable exception to what would appear to be an accepted rule elsewhere is the Dublin 17 postal code. Here some 47pc of students progressed to third level education between 2009 and 2015. It should be noted that these statistics are somewhat distorted by the fact that they are based solely on the results of one school - Colaiste Dhulaigh in Coolock.
It is nonetheless interesting to find that 31pc of students who sat the Leaving Certificate there went on to pursue third level studies in Britain.
Explaining this, Colaiste Dhulaigh's principal, Neil Dunphy, said a number of the school's students progressed to Colaiste Dhulaigh's College of Further Education which allows for final year entry into honours degree programmes at the University of Ulster, University of Wolverhampton and other third level institutions.
You can explore the data on each school by clicking here