Education University aspirations begin at home

University aspirations begin at home

High school students are more likely to aspire to a university education if their parents have talked to them about it, new research confirms.

A Murdoch University team investigated the importance of parental conversations as part of a project to tackle the substantial under-representation of low socio-economic status students at Australian universities.

The researchers surveyed 548 high school students from 12 schools.

The majority of participating schools were below average socio-economic status (SES) and almost 40 per cent of students said that they would be the first in their families to go to university.

“Only around 15 per cent of 25-to-34 year olds living in the south-west corridor of metropolitan Perth have been to university, which is around half the level of the rest of Perth,” said Chief Investigator and Murdoch University Provost Professor Taggart.

The researchers found that the role played by parents in university exposure was more important for students’ university aspiration in low SES schools than in higher SES schools in the same region.

“A student’s understanding of university pathways is informed by the prevailing education culture of the region,” said research project manager Dr Stuart Watson.

“But parents who talk about university with their children seem to be able to counteract the social and cultural elements of non-university participation in their local community.”

Murdoch University is examining ways to help parents to gain more exposure and knowledge of university to support the university aspirations and expectations of high school students in the region.

You can read more about this study here.

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