Timing patterns for making STEM-related educational choices in academic education–findings of a narrative study

Sabina Lissitsa, Svetlana Chachashvili-Bolotin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The labour market for young STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) graduates requires flexibility and adaptability, which may potentially conflict with the spreading worldwide tendency toward delayed graduation. This is a cause for concern among academicians, policy makers and practitioners at all levels, as it may generate important psychological and labour market consequences for the young people. The current study explored choice-making timing patterns regarding STEM academic education in Israel. This research is based on a narrative inquiry into 55 in-depth interviews with parents of STEM students. The findings revealed four distinct timing patterns in educational choice-making: early choice (in secondary school); choice during military service, which is mandatory for both genders in Israel; late decision making, i.e. after ‘taking time’ for identity explorations; and ‘last minute’ choice, i.e. making a choice directly before or even after starting one’s academic education. Revealing these major timing patterns may enable Israeli educational policy makers to offer optimal intervention strategies precisely at the important turning points in the lives of young-adult learners. Policy makers in other countries may learn from our findings and adapt them to the specific characteristics of their educational, cultural and labor market context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-244
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • STEM academic education
  • decision-making timing
  • educational choice


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