ATTITUDES ABOUT CAREER AND ACADEMIC GOALS: A COMPARISON OF ENTERING CURRICULAR GROUPS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

WENDY WEXLER BRANTON, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to investigate the attitudes and values of incoming college freshmen toward their career and academic goals. Although the attitudes of college students have been studied extensively, contemporary comparative studies of attitudes and values are relatively scarce. Studies of trends confirm the need for continued research. The design of this study was descriptive, comparative, and correlational. A 56 item self-report inventory based on statements students made about themselves was prepared for this research. Twenty percent of the freshmen class entering in 1979 at the University of Pennsylvania completed this inventory at an orientation program held prior to the start of fall classes. Liberal arts students were found to be career oriented in their educational plans. Students expected to combine educational goals with career goals. One emphasis was on early decision-making. Students with a career goal felt they would be more able to concentrate on their studies. Students most valued interesting, intellectually challenging work. Analysis of the attitude, behavior, and value items yielded eight factors: Reasons for Choosing a Career, Identification with a Career Goal, Edupathic Behavior, Anxiety, Contrient Interdependence, Authority Orientation, Importance of Success, and Egocentricity. These factors proved not to be linked to gender. Six groups were defined based on students' curricular choices: Pre-medical, Pre-health, Pre-professional, Liberal Arts, Pre-law/business, and Business Transfer. Pre-professional students, not pre-medical students, were found to promote the negative stereotype currently associated with being pre-med. Being pre-med was complex and varied considerably with the commitment and the contingency plans of each student. Evidence of a trend toward common work values for men and women students was suggested. Career identity, based on a factor extracted in this study, was defined and discussed. Curricular design, responsive to trends in student attitudes and values, and increased involvement of teachers, counselors, and advisors in the guidance of student decisions about careers, were recommended.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

BRANTON, WENDY WEXLER, "ATTITUDES ABOUT CAREER AND ACADEMIC GOALS: A COMPARISON OF ENTERING CURRICULAR GROUPS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA" (1982). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8307290.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8307290

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