Would-be students are more likely to decide where to go to university based on job opportunities rather than the prospect of a decent social life.
Almost two thirds (63%) of university applicants say that improving their work chances or pursuing a specific vocation was their main reason for going into higher education, according to a new poll by Which?
But less than 1% said that their number one reason for studying for a degree was to have a good social life.
The survey, which questioned around 1,000 people intending to start university this autumn, also found that around one in five (22%) wanted to study to stretch themselves and learn more about subjects that interest them.
And just 8% overall wanted to go to university to learn transferable skills and for personal development.
Graduate employment rates were also the most important factors for students when choosing a specific course or university, followed by links between universities and employers and an institution's reputation for a certain degree.
Around 17% were most interested in the degree classes a university awarded - for example how many graduates got a first or 2.1.
Just over one in four (26%) took local nightlife into account, and 37% were interested in being close to home.
University prospectuses and website were the most widely used by would-be students to make decisions about universities and courses, followed by open days and the UCAS website.
Few students used the National Careers Service or took advice from a careers adviser or careers fair.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: "It's encouraging that savvy students are focusing on employment benefits when deciding whether to go to university, but it's worrying that more aren't getting one-to-one careers guidance when making their choices."
Which? runs its own university site giving advice and information on universities and degree courses.
:: The Youthsight survey questioned 1,003 applicants planning to start university this September between February 7-24.