Premedical Students' Orientation toward Education: Challenges for the Pipeline into Medical School
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This longitudinal study examined whether premedical students' educational orientation contributed to their chances of completing a STEM degree. Two different orientations were tested; a narrow one grounded by interests in obtaining status and a more expansive orientation grounded by interests in engaging with a broader set of learning goals and communities. The primary source of data came from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's 2004 Freshman Survey (TFS) and 2008 College Senior Survey (CSS). The main analyses included 613 students who reported interest in pursuing a medical degree and identified physician as their probable career. The findings indicate that students who identified with a more expansive educational orientation were significantly less likely to persist in a STEM major four years after entering college, even after controlling for relevant student background characteristics and college experiences. Implications for the medical profession are discussed.