Where am I now and where do I want to be? Developing awareness of graduate attributes in pre-honours students.

Maxine V Swingler, Sarah Armour, Jason Bohan, Heather Cleland-Woods, Gordon B Curry, Archie W N Roy


There is increasing emphasis on the importance of making Graduate Attributes (GAs) explicit to students as part of their degree programme and the role of students themselves in proactively developing GAs. The aim of the present project was to encourage students to actively develop and reflect upon curricular and extra-curricular attributes at an earlier stage in their degree programme. To this end we developed and evaluated short-self-reflection exercises in second year (pre-honours) psychology practical classes which asked students to reflect on their curricular and extra-curricular activities and on how the practical skills gained from these activities are linked to graduate attributes.  Activities were followed by careers workshops focused on gaining confidence in communicating graduate attributes in an interview context, and the benefits of engaging with professional networking sites. We evaluated the impact of these activities on: 1) students’ levels of self-efficacy in specific GAs before and after the in-class exercises; 2) students' confidence in presenting their GAs in an interview situation; 3) student awareness of professional networking sites.  The activities resulted in increased self- efficacy ratings after the GAS reflection, increased confidence in presenting their GAs after the careers workshops, and an increased awareness of professional networking sites. The effectiveness of these activities as a method to increase student engagement in developing their GAs will be discussed in the wider context of embedding GAs and employability in pre-honours programmes across STEM disciplines. 

Keywords: Graduate attributes, employability, self-efficacy, pre-honours, professional networking


Graduate attributes; employability; self-efficacy; pre-honours; professional networking

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/ndtps.v0i11.580

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