GOING TO UNIVERSITY is supposed to be a mind-broadening experience. That assertion is presumably made in contradistinction to training for work straight after school, which might not be so stimulating. But is it actually true? Jessika Golle of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, thought she would try to find out. Her result, however, is not quite what might be expected. As she reports in Psychological Science this week, she found that those who have been to university do indeed seem to leave with broader and more inquiring minds than those who have spent their immediate post-school years in vocational training for work.
However, it was not the case that university broadened minds. Rather, work seemed to narrow them.
Dr Golle came to this conclusion after she and a team of colleagues studied the early careers of 2,095 German youngsters. During the period under investigation (the system was modified slightly this year), Germany had three tracks in its schools: a low one for pupils who would most probably leave school early and enter vocational training; a high one for those almost certain to enter university; and an intermediate one, from which there was a choice between the academic and vocational routes