The purpose of this thesis is to further understanding of the salient factors that underpin students' intentions to study at university, particularly those categorised as being from a low Socio-economic status (SES) background. Despite claims made in previous research reporting the elicitation of students' intentions to study at university, from a social cognitive perspective, these studies' ontological conceptualisation of intent are perhaps closer to students' hopes or aspirations. There is evidence to suggest that behavioural intention, as it is defined in this study, is an effective proxy measure of future behaviour (Ajzen, 2014). 323 Year 12 students from Victoria, Australia participated in 3 distinct, but related, research phases. From these data, two models were formed, the University Proximal Intention Framework (UPIF) and the University Distal Intention Framework (UDIF). The UPIF explained 76% (R¬≤ =.76, 95% CI [.71, .80]), while the UDIF explained 70% (R¬≤ =.70, 95% CI [.64, .76]), of the variance in students' intentions to attend university. The largest explanatory factors of behavioural beliefs were 1. Career aspirations (.907, t=18.134, p<.001), 2. Student interest in study field (.86, t=16.672, p<.001), 3. The graduate premium (.708, t=12.53, p<.001) and 4. Experiences associated with a university lifestyle (.534, t=8.81, p<.001). Teachers (.876), peers (.865) and parents (.803) were all significant (p<.001) explainers of normative beliefs to attend university. SES was identified as a significant (p<.001) predictor of students' intentions to attend university.
Grant Cooper, RMIT University, Australia
Rob Strathdee, RMIT University, Australia
Tasos Barkatsas, RMIT University, Australia
Stream: Higher education
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