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The Influence of a Two-Day Recruitment Event on Female Upper Secondary Students’ Motivation for Science and Technology Higher Education

Fredrik Jensen, Maria Vetleseter Bøe

Abstract


This paper reports on how female students’ motivation for higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was influenced by the recruitment event The Girls’ Day at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. In the event, high-achieving females in their last year of upper secondary school visited the university for two days filled with lectures, introduction to study programmes, and interaction with STEM students. Questionnaire and focus group data were collected at several times after the event. The findings indicate that the event influenced the participants’ STEM motivations by affecting their expectation of success and subjective value of STEM tertiary education. Meeting university STEM students was emphasized as the most important factor. These students provided ‘trustworthy’ information, and served as achievable role models helping the participants to see themselves as future STEM students. The majority of the participants rated the costs (in terms of required effort) of studying STEM higher after the event than they did before, but this did not weaken their expectation of success. While learning about the difficulty and required effort, the participants were also introduced to strategies for coping with these costs: study groups, tutor support, and ‘it is tough for everyone’ attitudes.


Keywords


STEM participation, recruitment event, upper secondary school

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