ERIC Number: ED394463
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
African American Students and College Choice Decisionmaking in Social Context: The Influence of Race and Class on Educational Opportunity.
Horvat, Erin McNamara
This report examines the college aspirations and decisionmaking factors gathered from 53 interviews with Black, female, college-bound students, their parents, friends, college counselors, teachers, and school staff. The goal was to reveal how the students' lives and their access to postsecondary education have been framed and structured by the influences of race and class in modern schools and society. Subjects were students at three urban California high schools. Data gathered included transcribed and coded interviews as well as extensive ethnographic observational data and documents. The schools were chosen for their ethnic and social differences: a predominantly African-American public school with predominantly lower class families; a public, racially mixed school of mixed social class composition; and a predominantly white, private, upper social class school. Findings reveal that the students chose colleges where they could see themselves in the form of other students like themselves who already attend the college; race and class defined the choices that fit a particular student. The high schools they attended acted as templates that encouraged particular kinds of action. The expectations of the students, rooted in race and class differences, created different worlds of opportunity and created different patterns of access to higher education. The data further illustrate how race did not have less importance than class in defining these students' habiti, but rather that race was a very clear marker of class membership and class distinction that greatly impacted their decisionmaking. (Contains 41 references.) (NAV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-13, 1996).