Farmers' children are three times more likely to go to college than others - according to a Higher Education Authority (HEA) report due out later today.
Figures from the 2011-2012 academic year - published in the Irish Independent - show that 99% of school leavers in Dublin 6 go on to further education, compared to just 15% in Dublin 17.
Counties with the highest proportion of school leavers going to college include Galway, Mayo and Leitrim at 60%, while the lowest is Donegal at 41%.
Family backgrounds also play a part - with the children of farmers three times more likely than the average school leaver to attend third level, ahead of the sons and daughters of the self-employed and professional classes.
Niamh Hourigan, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at UCC, says students from poorer backgrounds tend not to have the same encouragement to go on to third level.
"There would be some families that have very high levels of trauma and addiction etc… and for those kids just staying in school is a massive achievement," Ms Hourigan said.
"But for those who are in a more stable scenario, and for parents in those situations who would want their children to go on, one of the things that has come across very strongly is that they don't have that kind of detailed knowledge of the system, that helps those kids make the transition."