On Nov. 3, the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy hosted a seminar to discuss Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Students, a new book by Richard Arum, NYU professor of sociology and education, and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia.
Arum and Roksa’s 2011 book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, presented the findings of a longitudinal study of undergraduates’ learning, socialization, and study habits. Their new book follows the same students through the remainder of college and out into the working world.
Aspiring Adults Adrift tells the story of a generation facing a difficult transition to adulthood. While some 20-somethings profiled in the book succeeded in landing jobs in their fields or pursued graduate degrees, many moved back in with their parents and struggled to find decent employment. Arum’s research also suggests that it still pays to go to college, as those with a college degree had a significantly lower chance of being unemployed.
Arum led the seminar, and was joined by Adam Gamoran, president of the William T. Grant Foundation, and Jennifer Jennings, assistant professor of sociology at NYU. The speakers debated whether high school preparation would improve college outcomes, and if researchers make good teachers.