Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teen career plans out of sync with reality

30.08.2006
So your high school senior says she wants to be a doctor. Great news, right? It is if she's got the talent and the grades to back up her ambition.

Unfortunately, the goals of too many teens now outpace what they are likely to achieve, a problem that can lead to wasted time and resources, not to mention anxiety and distress, according to a new Florida State University study.

Sociology Professor John Reynolds tracked changes in high school seniors' educational and occupational plans between 1976 and 2000 and found the gap in goals and actual achievements has grown over the 25-year period. The study, co-authored by FSU graduate students Michael Stewart, Ryan MacDonald and Lacey Sischo, was published in the journal Social Problems.

"Today's teens are both highly ambitious and increasingly unrealistic," Reynolds said. "While some youth clearly benefit from heightened ambition, it can lead to disappointment and discouragement rather than optimism and success."

The study, which was supported by a $47,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, is the first to show with comparable, national data how dramatically high school seniors' plans have changed since the 1970s, how these expectations are increasingly out of sync with the achievements of their peers and that there is a corresponding decline in the payoffs of student ambition for future accomplishments in school.

The researchers analyzed data from several national surveys, including the annual Monitoring the Future Survey, the National Longitudinal Study, the Digest of Education Statistics and the Current Population Survey.

They found that high school seniors in 2000 were much more ambitious than their 1976 counterparts with 50 percent of seniors planning to continue their education after college to get an advanced degree and 63 percent planning to work in a professional job, such as doctor, lawyer, college professor, accountant or engineer, by age 30. In 1976, only 26 percent said they planned to get an advanced degree and 41 percent planned to work as a professional. Other categories were laborer, farmer or homemaker; service, sales or clerical; operative or crafts; military or protective services; entrepreneur; and administrator or manager.

Interestingly, the percentage of high school graduates between age 25 and 30 who actually earned advanced degrees has remained pretty steady, meaning only the expectations have changed, and dramatically at that. The gap between expectations of earning an advanced degree and what is realistic grew from 22 percentage points in 1976 to 41 percentage points in 2000.

The researchers attribute the high school seniors' unrealistic expectations to the declining influence of grades and high school curricula and the increase of students who plan to use community college as an educational stepping-stone to a bachelor's degree and beyond. While community college may be valuable, statistics show that these students are much less likely to earn a bachelor's degree, let alone an advanced degree, than their peers who began their college careers at four-year institutions.

So what's wrong with reaching for the stars?

"Unrealistic plans may lead to a misuse of human potential and economic resources," Reynolds said. "For example, planning to become a medical doctor while making poor grades in high school means that preparation for other more probable vocations is likely to be postponed."

Like many cultural shifts in today's society, money may be at the root of the "college-for-all" attitude. Parents, high school counselors and others are giving students the message that a college degree is the only way to get a good job when, in fact, a skilled electrician or plumber can earn as much as say, a college professor, Reynolds said.

"Also, other researchers have found that although we are making more money than in the past, what counts for happiness is making more than your peers," he said. "This might also fuel irrational plans to work in top occupations."

John Reynolds | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>