In the last years, the Integrated Master in Mechanical Engineering (MIEM) at FEUP revealed a very high capability for attracting young students. However, the true reasons that determine the interest of the students in the Mechanical Engineering cycle of studies (CS) are not well understood. This paper tries to shed light on this question. A survey was prepared and applied to the first year students enrolled on MIEM in 2020-2021. The responses were analyzed statistically and organized comprehensively. The results show that the opinions of others, the quality and availability of information, the versatility and employability rates of the CS, the quality of training and the reputation of the HEI/CS are crucial. The findings can be further explored by the FEUP/CS decision makers to delineate policies envisaging strengthening the ability of Mechanical Engineering to compete for the best potential candidates to higher education. Indeed, the higher education institutions are aware that they have to fight for students in the global recruitment market and be more proactive than they used in the past.
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