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School preparation and choice of university

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  1. School preparation and choice of university In the English Education System there are: • Different types of university and different routes into university • State and private (aka public, independent) schools which often prepare young people in different ways for post 16 education • Different qualifications: A levels (plus GCSEs); BTECs and similar vocational qualifications; Access qualifications for mature students • These are valued in different ways.

  2. Different types of university • Elite : Oxford and Cambridge • Pre 1992 includes 19th century and more recent since 1960s and the first major post WWII expansion of the university sector • Post 1992 (aka ‘New’ or ‘Modern)universities: given university status following the FE/HE Education Act in 1992. These were former polytechnics, Colleges of Higher Education.

  3. Different types of university- what is the significance? • Differential resourcing • Hierarchies • Differential perceptions

  4. Preparation for University • Choosing to go to university involves: having the confidence to apply; having the knowledge about what qualifications you need to go to university – how many A levels or points; and which qualifications and subjects do you need to study your chosen subject. • Oxbridge for example will not accept media studies, business studies , sociology as a main A level for entry. Also you need to do an entry exam for Oxbridge and therefore you need preparation for this.

  5. Writing the application (UCAS) form and statement is ‘socially/culturally’ biased. • Going to universityalso involves having the self-belief that you can achieve at university.

  6. Social Class Issues, Preparation for University and Familial Habitus • Research shows that parents’ education and knowledge of the education system aids their children in furthering their educational career and enables the parents to support them in getting to university • Students from middle class backgrounds are more likely than those from working class backgrounds to have parents who have been to university, or have academic qualifications/furthered their education in some ways • Middle Class parents will be more likely therefore to have knowledge of the post 16 education system • They are likely to have useful social networks compared to working class parents

  7. Institutional habitus • Middle class young people are more likely to go to schools which are geared up for university entry processes • Teachers seem to have higher expectations of middle class young people in terms of the university trajectory • It is important to be prepared early on in school for university entry, particularly in terms of having the right qualifications

  8. Middle class young people compared to working class young people are more likely to be brought up with the expectation of going to university. • Research shows that working class students are beset by self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy and concerned about not ‘fitting-in’: attributed to negative school/educational and other social class based experiences. • This has been shown to impact on their decision to go to university or their choice of university.

  9. Barbara, History student, Northern University And I just felt that [Norton pre 1992 university] might have been out of my depth, might have been a bit like, I don’t know, like something like Harvard University or it just wasn’t where I should have been. Whereas here [Northern post 1992] would probably be more my level. Maybe it’s because I’m a mature student. At [Norton] I was the only mature student there when I went to visit on the open day. Whereas here they understood that. I think they were a little bit more aware [the demands of] family life and a lot of the lecturers on the history course have got young families so they’re more aware that things happen and that you can’t prevent things from coming up.

  10. Types of chooser • Active researchers; organised choosers; serendipitous; intuitive response; narrow focus; impulsive decision making (Reay et al 2005)

  11. Importance of Widening Participation Policies • There have been a range of attempts through policy initiatives to address these constraints.

  12. Questions to consider • How is your education system organised? • What are the university requirements? • At what age do young people go to university? • What support/preparation do they receive for making an application to university? • Who goes to university in Serbia? • What are the constraints? • How does the situation in Serbia compare with England in terms of the choice process?