Perceived Life-Readiness from Real-World Curriculum Experiences of Alumni

Caterina Belle Azzarello, Lee Arakawa, Daniel Edi, Madasyn Sutton, Randy Larkins


Students pursue college degrees expecting to learn skills necessary to navigate adult life. While this is the expectation of most students, there is a lack of research examining the perceived effectiveness of real-world applicability in undergraduate degrees.
Objective. The purpose of this phenomenological and constructivist study was to explore how college alumni perceive their educational experiences in terms of real-world preparedness.
Methods. Eight participants in their mid-twenties (5 females, 3 males) were selected using purposeful sampling. Participants participated in informal, semi-structured, one-on-one Zoom interviews and demographic questionnaire responses.
Results. Emerging themes indicated that alumni felt the relationships formed had a greater contribution to their life-readiness compared to their real-world curriculum. Other emerging themes revealed alumni believed they developed valuable skills through hands-on experience and group work. Recommendations were made by alumni for curriculum changes, including smaller class sizes and inclusion of more practical courses.
Conclusions. Based on these findings, future research should aim to replicate this study using a broader range of alumni to further investigate this phenomenon, as well as studies that investigate various college types and student experiences.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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