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Teenagers’ Expectations of Applying to University: How do they Change?

National Institute of Economic and Social Research, 2 Dean Trench Street, London, SW1P 3HE, UK
Department of Social Sciences, UCL Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Anna Vignoles and Neil Murray
Educ. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 281-305;
Received: 21 September 2015 / Revised: 29 October 2015 / Accepted: 2 November 2015 / Published: 11 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
We show how young people’s expectations about application to university change during the teenage years, drawing on the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE). We reveal the pattern of change by family background, prior attainment at the end of primary school (measured by Key Stage 2 tests) and, critically, the combination of the two. We document the relationship between expectations about university application and the decision on whether to stay on in full-time education at 16. We point to the importance of schools in sustaining or changing expectations. We relate the expectations reported by the teenagers in LSYPE to their actual university application decisions by age 20 or 21. Expectations are high but not universally high. Family background gaps in expectations widen during the teenage years. View Full-Text
Keywords: expectations; university application; family background; LSYPE expectations; university application; family background; LSYPE
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Anders, J.; Micklewright, J. Teenagers’ Expectations of Applying to University: How do they Change? Educ. Sci. 2015, 5, 281-305.

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