Great Aspirations: The Graduate School Plans of America's College Seniors

Great Aspirations: The Graduate School Plans of America's College Seniors

Great Aspirations: The Graduate School Plans of America's College Seniors

Great Aspirations: The Graduate School Plans of America's College Seniors

Excerpt

Colleges and universities are charged with the important task of preparing young men and women for professional, technical, and managerial occupations. Undergraduate schools and the undergraduate divisions of universities certainly perform the major part of this task, each year over the past few years conferring more than a third of a million undergraduate degrees.

For many career fields the bachelor's degree is an important step on the way to entry into those occupations, but, for better or for worse, postgraduate training either in the traditional liberal arts and sciences graduate schools or in professional schools is the educational experience that will make such an entry finally possible. Postgraduate training is no longer confined to a small minority of college graduates -- nearly a third of each year's new bachelors of arts and science go on to such training the year of their graduation. We expect that by the time these college graduates reach the midpoint of their careers, in their forties, this proportion will be nearly doubled.

The research embodied in this monograph is concerned with this increasingly important part of educational training. It uses a large sample of the classes graduating from American colleges and universities in June, 1961, as an entry point into the more general problem of how postgraduate training plans are formed.

Manpower issues are among the more important aspects of today's headlines and public discussions: "satellites," "teacher shortage," "population explosion," "electronic computers," "the two cultures," "new nations," "cancer research," "why Johnny can't (or can) read," "automation," "equality of opportunity." A moment's reflection of any of these topical issues leads very quickly to unanswered questions about the selection, allocation, and training of the specialists needed to grapple with the problems involved. Some of the more critical specialists are in very short supply; some careers are not drawing enough of the very talented; and still others need new kinds of training.

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