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Mature Age Study: Was It Worth The Effort?

McDonald, R., Knights, S., Everall, B., Quilty, A. and Sansom, D. (1983) Mature Age Study: Was It Worth The Effort? Higher Education Research & Development, 2 (2). pp. 147-153.

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There have been many studies documenting the upsurge in the number of mature age students in universities and colleges, and demonstrating their academic success. It has also been recorded that in returning to study, adults make sacrifices in finances, time, personal relationships and possibly interruption to a career. This paper reports a study which was designed to discover whether, in the view of mature age graduates, the benefits of a degree compensated for the sacrifices. The study involved 266 such graduates. Of those whose decision to enrol was motivated by personal reasons, 90% felt that they had achieved their objectives. Of those who entered university for career‐related reasons, 70% said that their degree had helped them in their work. Even though some who had resigned jobs in order to study found themselves unemployed for a period upon graduation, many still felt that they had benefited personally. But the degree of satisfaction is even higher than these figures would suggest. For a number of graduates, their motivation changed from being essentially job related to involving personal growth. By the end of their studies, the satisfaction of having successfully completed a university course came to be valued more than the career advancement that might follow.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Educational Development Unit
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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