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Post-graduation reflections on the value of a degree

Everett, Glyn; Brooks, Rachel


Rachel Brooks


This article investigates the impact of a changing higher education system on young adults' priorities and motivations. A considerable number of studies have explored the impact of recent changes on patterns of participation within higher education. However, there has been less emphasis on how such changes have been played out in the experiences of graduates and, more specifically, in the interface between higher education and lifelong learning. To redress this gap, this article explores the changes to graduates' experiences brought about by the 'massification' of the higher education system. Research conducted amongst young people in Australia has suggested that as result of the normalisation of post-compulsory education and the encouragement of high aspirations, young people have come to assume a one-to-one relationship between being qualified and having a lasting professional career. It has been argued that as a result of these assumptions, young adults are often disappointed when they do eventually enter the labour market, and experience uncertainties previously associated with the end of compulsory schooling. If young adults do indeed feel misled about the rewards of a higher education, it is possible that this may have a significant bearing on their perceptions of the value of engaging in further education and training in the future. Drawing on 90 life history interviews with graduates in their mid-twenties, this article explores the prevalence of such attitudes in the UK and their impact on young adults' attitudes to lifelong learning. © 2009 British Educational Research Association.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2009
Journal British Educational Research Journal
Print ISSN 0141-1926
Electronic ISSN 1469-3518
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Pages 333-349
APA6 Citation Everett, G., & Brooks, R. (2009). Post-graduation reflections on the value of a degree. British Educational Research Journal, 35(3), 333-349.
Keywords lifelong learning, post-graduation, reflections, young adults
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