Transitioning into, through, and out of Graduate School: A Theoretical Model
Keywords:transition, graduate school, theoretical model, post-secondary, students
Recent years, graduate education has received increasing attention, but while extensive research has been conducted on the experiences of graduate students, scant literature has addressed the transitional pathways of those making the decision to attend graduate school, or those preparing either to leave or to graduate. The process by which students make the decision to apply for, enrol in and attend graduate school has not been well researched. A central aim of this paper, then, is to contribute to the sparse literature on graduate education transitions, giving consideration to and identifying influential factors thought to play a role in a student’s decisions to enrol and persist in graduate school. A theoretical model of graduate student transitions will be presented, developed through a synthesis of research on the persistence and attrition of undergraduate and graduate students. While it is acknowledged that the factors identified are in no way exhaustive of the many concerns and issues graduate students face in gaining entry, persisting and departing from their studies, it is hoped that this model will stimulate further discussion and prompt exploration into the most influential factors that help to shape their experiences and decisions; and the implications of these on career trajectories.
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