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ERIC Number: EJ1060229
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2368-4526
Motivations for Going to University: A Qualitative Study and Class Project
Schmidt, Heather; Carocci, Nicole; Gardner, Chris; Serroul, Alicia; Topalovic, Megan
Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, v7 n2 2014
We explored student motivations for attending university, including how motivations may change over the course of one's postsecondary career, by conducting semi-structured interviews with 8 upper-year undergraduates. Participants were also asked to reflect back on their own experiences and provide advice for new university students. We conducted a grounded theory analysis to identify common themes running across the 8 interviews. What emerged was a pattern of transition from a predominance of external/extrinsic motivators at the beginning of one's university career, into increasingly internal/intrinsic motivators as students discovered their passions and interests. Two unexpected external/extrinsic themes to emerge included: "Unhelpful high-school guidance-counselling" and a "Motivation to disprove people who underestimate you." The strongest internal/intrinsic motivation was the "Desire to help others." Students can apply these findings to their own lives and universities can gain a better understanding of the supports that are needed to retain students through to graduation.
Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 1280 Main Street West, Mills Library Room 504, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A