An analysis of selected decision making variables and the effects they have on the post-secondary education plans of 16-21 year old youth from the United States
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The primary purpose of this study was to determine the importance of postsecondary education in the future plans of 16-21 year old youth from the United States. A secondary purpose of the study was to determine if selected individuals in their lives influence the post-secondary education decisions made by 16-21 year old youth in the United States. In addition, selected outcome options were analyzed to determine the effect these options have on post-secondary education decisions made by 16-21 year old youth from the United States. The sample for the study consisted of 3,017 males and females between the ages of 16-21, collected by means of a telephone survey. The dependent variable for this study was the higher education plans of 16-21 year old youth; and the independent variables were age, gender, ethnicity, usual grades made in high school, strength of influence of selected outcome options, and influencers of the decisions made by the respondents. The study found that 16-21 year old youth in the United States have a strong desire to attend post-secondary education full-time rather than part-time. A majority of the respondents indicated that they prefer attending a 4-year college or university with the second choice being a 2-year junior or community college. The respondents indicated that they are influenced strongly by their parents, siblings, and close friends to make decisions; but there does not appear to be a strong influence by this group on the respondents to make decisions about post-secondary education. The outcome options that appear to have the most influence on this age group are: having a job that makes you happy, having a good paying job, earning money for college, having an attractive lifestyle, preparing for a career, having job security, making a positive difference in the community and learning a valuable trade or skill. These factors, however, donÃ¢ÂÂt appear to have a strong influence on this group when making a decision to attend post-secondary education.
Takao, Marsha Jane McCord (2003). An analysis of selected decision making variables and the effects they have on the post-secondary education plans of 16-21 year old youth from the United States. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from