Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates

Roksa, Josipa and Arum, Richard

Coming this September from the University of Chicago Press:

In light of mounting evidence that college students today face limited academic demands and experience disappointing levels of academic growth, many are wondering how, exactly, colleges and universities are implicated in shaping young adults’ lives. What is it about college today that facilitates or inhibits successful postgraduate transitions? To what extent is post-college success associated with young adults’ college major, institutional selectivity, and performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (a measure of critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills) during their last semester at college?

In Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates, the much-anticipated follow-up to Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011), coauthors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa bring a rich longitudinal dataset to bear on these questions. Arum and Roksa examine the connection between college experiences and a range of post-college outcomes, including graduate school attendance, employment status, financial stability, living arrangements, romantic relationships, and civic engagement. What they find is that many of today’s college graduates are making only tentative transitions into traditional adult roles—two years after college, many graduates are still struggling to establish financial independence, chart clear career paths, and form stable adult relationships. In addition to analyzing these general trends, Arum and Roksa strive to understand the factors that underlie key disparities between different groups of college graduates.

Aspiring Adults Adrift’s sophisticated analysis of higher education’s role in shaping young people’s transitions to adulthood offers important insights for administrators, policymakers, college students, and recent graduates alike.

Related Programs and Projects