Results of a series of ANOVAs performed on self-report data from a large (N = 1310), diverse sample of Undergraduate students enrolled at an urban 4-year university are presented to address what different groups of students perceive as their ideal learning environment (course, professor) and motivational profile. Younger students, and students matriculating straight from high school seemed to want college to be an extension of high school. They described as their ideal courses and instructors that were fun/funny, engaging, less challenging, and employing active instructional strategies. Older students, and students transferring from community college described instructors and courses that were, by and large, more rigorous, more serious, and more readily applicable to the “real world”. They were also more likely to hold views of themselves as learners that were consistent with a mastery orientation. No significant differences emerged between students who came from a college-going community (family, friends) and those who were the first in their families or peer groups to attend college. These findings have implications for those interested in identifying and avoiding serious mismatches between student and faculty expectations, and for those interested in helping students make the most fruitful adjustment to the college environment.
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