British Journal of Sociology of Education vol:26 issue:4 pages:523-538
In spite of a progressive institutionalisation of community- based learning into higher education, relatively little is known about the actual dynamics and correlates of volunteering by students. The study presented seeks a more in- depth understanding of the spontaneous, extracurricular involvement within a university student population. Data are drawn from a postal survey of a representative sample of third- year university students enrolled at a Flemish university ( n = 744). In a first step, an exploration of the course and nature of students' volunteer involvement is provided. In a second step, an explanatory model is constructed to predict the likelihood of belonging to the categories of volunteers, former volunteers or non- volunteers. Firstly, it appears that a large group of students drop out of volunteering in transition to university, and that volunteering is rarely given priority in students' agenda. Furthermore, a bifurcated pattern of involvement with a different pace inside and outside university is identified. Finally, extensive embedding in a volunteer environment as well as the discipline of study are major predictors of volunteering by students. Gender, church practice, being encouraged to volunteer and subjective study pressure produce subsidiary effects.