Exploring Young People's Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Their Progression to University

A Scottish rural perspective


  • Laurence Lasselle University of St Andrews




rurality, perceptions, attitudes, higher education


This paper presents an exploratory analysis of young people's perceptions and attitudes towards their potential progression to higher education in rural areas of Scotland. These young people belonged to three state secondary schools whose catchment areas were mainly rural. All were in S5/Year 12 or S6/Year 13 and aged 16 years and over. They filled in a serial questionnaire in November 2014 and again in March 2015. Firstly, the analysis reveals that 40% of the respondents were not aware of any obstacles to their going to university. Secondly, it points out that if the majority of the respondents perceived financial barriers, the perception of these obstacles tended to decline over time. Thirdly, while their enthusiasm and motivation towards their potential progression to higher education remained high in March 2015, more had reported these positive attitudes in November 2014. Finally, although most perceived their parents' enthusiasm about their going to university, fewer acknowledged it in March 2015 and many more recognised the enthusiasm of their schools.

Author Biography

Laurence Lasselle, University of St Andrews

Laurence Lasselle is Senior Lecturer in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, UK. She started her academic career at the University of St Andrews as the May Wong Smith Research Fellow in 1997. She gained her PhD in 1996 from the University of the Mediterranean, France, and was awarded a six-month Jean Monnet Research Fellowship tenable at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy, in 2003. She has developed a keen interest in the economics of education. Her most recent research in this area has been funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council and is about access to higher education for Scottish rural communities.



18-08-2017 — Updated on 01-07-2017


How to Cite

Lasselle, L. (2017). Exploring Young People’s Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Their Progression to University: A Scottish rural perspective. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27(2), 6–17. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v27i2.119 (Original work published August 18, 2017)