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Presents the results of a study of how students' choices of postsecondary activity (college attendance, vocational school, military service, entry into the full time labor force, etc.) affect various aspects of their personal development, including self-esteem, locus of control, value orientations, sex-role attitudes, expected educational attainment, career aspirations, and satisfaction with career progress. The research is based on the National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of l972, a large panel study of over 22,000 high school seniors who were the subject of follow-up surveys in 1973, 1974, and 1976. The authors used an individual effects model to separate the effects of young people's background characteristics from the effects attributable to postsecondary track. Although the analysis revealed several differences in outcomes associated with postsecondary track, the main finding was that young people's initial differences upon entering their tracks are generally much greater than the relative differences that emerge thereafter.

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