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Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates Paperback – September 1, 2014

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Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates + Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The follow-up to the much talked about, responded to, and reflected upon Academically Adrift. . . . Highly recommended for faculty, staff, administrators, students, and parents. Of special interest is the chapter titled ‘A Way Forward,’ which provides the authors’ recommendations for improving under­graduate education based on their research.”


(Library Journal)

About the Author

Richard Arum is professor in the Department of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. He is also director of the Education Research Program of the Social Science Research Council and the author of Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority in American Schools. Josipa Roksa is associate professor of sociology and education and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the University of Virginia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022619728X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226197289
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Reid Mccormick on September 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
Higher education is no stranger to criticism. Dissenters have been criticizing higher education since colleges started popping up across the colonies. Recently, however, no book has been more disapproving and controversial than Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. To simply summarize their research: college students are not learning. Using the College Learning Assessment (CLA), Arum and Roksa concluded that students are showing very little growth and that colleges are not the transformational learning environments that faculty and staff preach to the masses. This is a huge indictment for colleges and universities who over the past few decades have seen its tuition increase exponentially while the job market remains dreary and uncertain.

Though the book was a well-researched work, the measure of learning used seemed incomplete.
Is the CLA the best assessment available to measure learning? Can one assessment do that? Are the number of papers written and pages read throughout a semester be an effective indicator of learning? For me, there were a lot more questions than answers after reading Academically Adrift.

Arum and Roska follow up with a new book, Aspiring Adults Adrift, which furthers their research into the years immediately following graduation. Are colleges and universities properly preparing students for the world after graduation? Are they employed, unemployed, or underemployed? Are they ready for the emotional and social challenges of adult life?

As you can probably determine from the title, the authors do not paint a very good portrait. The college graduates followed in this study matriculated in the tumultuous year of 2009, only months removed from the worst economic downturn in American history since the Great Depression.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on September 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Arum (sociology and education professor at New York University) and Roksa's (associate professor sociology and education at the University of Virginia) 2011 'Academically Adrift' reported that over one-third of students complete college without achieving any gains in learning or critical thinking skills. They also found that many undergraduates were 'drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose.' This new book revisits nearly 1,000 of those same undergraduates to assess how they've done since graduate. Turns out they're still adrift - .

A large proportion of that group are having difficulty finding jobs, only 75% reported living somewhere other than back home with their parents two years after graduation, assuming financial self-responsibility (12% had part-time jobs, 30% were working full-time while earning < $30K/year, with 15% earning < $20K), and even developing stable romantic relationships (age of marriage has risen six years from the 1970s). Turns out that colleges' efforts to attract students with happy college experiences rather than helping them learn produces graduates with happy memories of their college experience, but little sense of purpose or understanding of how to move forward.

The exception - only 4% of STEM graduates were working an unskilled job, vs. 14-17% for others. Business majors had a 2% unemployment rate, while social work, education, health, and communications majors were at 8-9%. Part of the problem - 36% of full-time college students reported studying alone < 5 hours/week.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Idphotodoc on November 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates is Richard Arum's relatively brief, and well argued position of the problems of modern higher education. No one involved in this educational process escapes criticism. This includes the students who look for classes that require little effort. Sharing the blame are teachers who do not require the type of effort that requires students to develop critical thinking skills, or do not demand the ability to coherently place the results of this thinking in writing, and the ability to transfer these thinking and writing abilities to other areas of inquiry. Also, administrators who allow the dilution of academic rigor, and report meaningless statistics to justify the continual increase in tuition and other fees receive justified admonition.

This report deserves the attention of all students who are pursuing a college education, parents of those students, college level teachers and administrators, and also the teachers in the lower levels who are charged with preparing these students to study at the college level. Industry wishes to hire prepared graduates. A college diploma needs to certify that the graduate has accumulated the sufficient knowledge and skills to perform well in his or her chosen field. It does not need to indicate an accumulation of social skills, or a contact list of whom to call when you lack the qualifications for the position.

Students need to have a certain amount of fear and anxiety to motivate them to acquire adequate knowledge, critical thinking skills, and the ability to write it down. What better way to achieve this goal than to require that they actually learn the material.
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