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Young people’s higher education choices: the role of family and friends

Brooks, R (2003) Young people’s higher education choices: the role of family and friends British Journal of Sociology of Education., 24 (3). pp. 283-297.

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Previous studies of higher education (HE) choice have tended to draw a strong contrast between the decisions made by young people from working-class backgrounds and those of their middle-class peers. This paper draws on a qualitative, longitudinal study to argue that such assumptions about social class homogeneity overlook the very different ways in which students from a similar (middle class) location come to understand the HE sector. It also suggests that while families have a strong influence on young people's conceptualisation of the sector, friends and peers play an important role in informing decisions about what constitutes a 'feasible' choice. Indeed, this paper shows how rankings within friendship groups were, in many cases, transposed directly onto a hierarchy of HE institutions and courses. On the basis of this evidence, it concludes that a two-step interaction between family and friends best explains the decision-making processes in which these young people were engaged.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 2003
Identification Number : 10.1080/01425690301896
Uncontrolled Keywords : Youth Education Higher education
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in British Journal of Sociology of Education 24 (3) 2003, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 25 Jul 2014 09:11
Last Modified : 25 Jul 2014 13:33

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