The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 565–583 | Cite as

The Graduate, the Globetrotter and the Good Samaritan: adolescent girls’ visions of themselves in early adulthood

  • Cherie HawkinsEmail author


Adolescent aspirations have been extensively researched, particularly in the contexts of higher education and the workforce. This paper extends research by exploring how the educational and career aspirations of rural adolescent girls relate to their other future goals. It demonstrates how exploring aspirations, both within and outside of the contexts of higher education and the workforce, enables a deeper understanding of various adolescent aspirations and the interconnections between them. This paper draws on a qualitative study with adolescent girls living in the Cradle Coast region of Tasmania-a rural and remote region where access to a wide range of educational resources and experiences is limited in comparison to those available in metropolitan centres. The paper responds to recent participation policy in Australia that implies young people from rural locations are lacking in aspiration. The article demonstrates that despite rurality, the girls in this study have many aspirations, including those for higher education. It discusses how having many and quite varied aspirations influences the girls’ decision making and planning around their futures. The paper shows that it is the balancing of many future goals that influences educational and career decision-making, rather than low aspirations.


Aspirations Higher education Early adulthood Rurality 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Regional Development and Faculty of EducationUniversity of TasmaniaBurnieAustralia

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