Rural first year university science students: As engaged, aspirational and motivated as anyone but different science 'choices' in Year 12 and university.

  • Frances Quinn UNE
  • Terry Lyons UNE


This paper reports on findings from the Interests and Recruitment in Science study, which explored the experiences of first year students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses in Australian universities. First year STEM students who went to school in rural or regional areas were as engaged, aspirational and motivated as their more metropolitan counterparts. However, they were less likely to have studied Physics or advance mathematics, and more likely to have enrolled in an Agricultural or Environmental Science degree. The relationships between these results and broader contextual issues such as employment and Higher Education budgetary and policy settings are discussed.