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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A follow-up study of 1978 Northern Lights College students Olson, Corliss Patricia


A follow-up study of students who had attended Northern Lights College in 1978, was conducted two years later. The proposal for the study was submitted to the College Board and received partial funding. The population studied included all full-time students who had begun a programme of at least 30 days during the 1978 calendar year. The survey instrument was a one-page, mailed questionnaire. Students received the initial mailing, a reminder postcard and a telephone reminder and second questionnaire, if necessary. The response rate was 53%, based on the number of questionnaires assumed to have reached the students. The goals of the study were: to assess student satisfaction with their college experience and determine reasons for early withdrawal; to assess the relevance (from the students' point of view) of the college educational experience to employment and to further education; and to assess the change both in students' socio-economic status and job satisfaction prior to enrolment at the College compared with two years after leaving the College. Data were statistically analyzed using Chi-square, z-tests and analysis of variance. It was found that students were generally satisfied with their college experience. Reasons for early withdrawal were investigated, but the small sample size did not allow conclusive statements. Students' expectations for good job preparation were met two-thirds of the time. Two years after college, most respondents wished to be employed in their fields of study and the reasons some were not were examined. There was evidence of problems in the implementation of the apprenticeship programme; specifically, funding during training and the availability of adequate, appropriate work afterwards. One-quarter of respondents indicated they had gone on for further studies and most of those continued in areas related to their programmes at Northern Lights College. A large proportion of those continuing their education stayed within the college system and many returned to Northern Lights. Most students were satisfied with their preparation for further studies. The number of respondents employed full-time increased significantly after college. There was a significant difference in full-time employment by sex both before and after college, but no significant difference between college-age and adult-age respondents. Changes in occupational group after college were reviewed: groups showing the greatest increase in numbers were the skilled and semi-skilled occupations. The change in job status, as measured by the Blishen socio-economic scale, was significant and the difference in job status between the sexes was significant with males in lower ranking socio-economic groups both before and after college. Job satisfaction increased significantly after college for both sexes and both age groups. Two-thirds of respondents reported some increase in salary after college. The study concludes with 13 recommendations, based on student responses, to the College Board.

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