Effects of intervening work experience on undergraduate persistence
The years following high school are often characterized by uncertainty with regard to career and education decisions. The literature reviewed during this study suggested that a period of meaningful work experience between secondary and post-secondary education might reduce this uncertainty. The literature reviewed suggested that students who choose to leave full-time, formal education temporarily often return later with a greater sense of direction and motivation. The purpose of the study was to explore the association, if any, between work experience preceding college and persistence to degree completion. Data was extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Data (NLSY79), sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, and managed under contract by the Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR) at The Ohio State University. Predictor variables were analyzed for their effects on undergraduate persistence using binary logistic regression. The dependent variable was whether or not subjects earned a baccalaureate degree. The predictor variables included: (a) an intervening work experience between high school and college, (b) income, (c) dependents, (d) years required to attain the bachelor’s degree, (e) age at the time of earning the degree, (f) gender, (g) race, (h) SAT/ACT scores, and (i) military experience. The likelihood of persistence of those who did not have the intervening work experience was about 12 times greater than that of those who had the work experience. Subjects who had no active duty military experience were nearly 10 times more likely to persist. The single predictor variable that appeared to validate the literature was the variable that referred to the number of years it took a subject, from the time of first entry into college, to earn a bachelor’s degree. With the addition of each such year, it appeared that subjects were approximately 2.3 times more likely to persist to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree. This suggested that many non-traditional students reach their bachelor degree goals through combinations of entry, departure, and reentry into undergraduate studies, interspersed or combined with periods of full-time and part-time work and study.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:nontraditional students reentering reentry stopouts dropouts persistence
Date of Publication:01/01/2007