The patterns of competencies and educational decision making of boys and girls, as well as young men and women, seem to become increasingly heterogeneous over the educational career. Using an explicit life course perspective and longitudinal data from the NEPS and BiKS, this project aims to describe and analyze the stepwise formation and differentiation of gender-specific interests, competencies and decision making at crucial phases of educational careers. In particular, we will study the development and dynamic interaction of gender-specific cognitive and social competencies, self-concepts, learning efforts, motivations and the educational decision making of families for their girls and boys, teachers for their students, as well as by young men and women themselves. We will concentrate on the most important phases in German educational careers: (a) The preschool experiences in the kindergarten and the entry process into the school system; (b) the transition to secondary school; (c) the increasingly longer period of transition from secondary school to vocational training, and (d) the entry process into the institutions of higher education. This project is the second phase of a larger project studying the long-term development of gender-specific educational and job careers over the life course, and has an intended duration of three years.