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The place of university in the culture of young people

(2007) The place of university in the culture of young people. In: 10th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, 4 - 6 July 2007, Brisbane, QLD



This study examined differences in Australian secondary school students’ attitudes to higher education. It investigated links between their view s their family backgrounds. To facilitate this, the young people were divided into two groups: Traditional Students, who come from well-educated families and Newcomers who come from less well-educated families. This study reveals that there were significant differences in young people’s attitudes to enrolling at university that were closely linked to their family backgrounds: Inheritors were more supportive of the liberal perspective, while the Newcomers were generally more utilitarian in their approach. The study also found that while there has been a general shift in values towards the utilitarian perspective, there were a substantial number of Newcomers who had absorbed the liberal idea of university education as a cultural experience. The implication of this finding is universities need to tailor their transition programs to accommodate these differences.

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