London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Understanding the students of tomorrow: How young people think and feel about higher education

Author(s) Atherton, G. & Okonkwo, J.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
This paper will explore how young people in England form their views of Higher Education (HE). There is little detailed, previous focus on how the views and attitudes of young people regarding higher education evolve and change over the teenage years. The paper draws on a survey conducted with 1600 young people from years 9 – 13 (13-17 year olds) over May to November 2010. These young people were drawn from schools/colleges in two different areas of England and the survey examines their future occupational & educational preferences. It reflects on their levels of ‘aspiration’, perceptions of academic subjects, opportunities/constraints, knowledge of HE, attitudes to cost, ideas of ‘success’ and their views on who/what influences them. The results show the HE ‘aspirations’ of young people are uniformly high but their knowledge of HE options and the future educational landscape is limited and does not advance greatly over the mid teenage years. As HE is set to become significantly more expensive in England the need for impartial and comprehensive information, advice and guidance for young people is now very pressing.

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