ERIC Number: EJ1018218
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
Social Capital and the College Enrollment Process: How Can a School Program Make a Difference?
Stephan, Jennifer L.
Teachers College Record, v115 n4 2013
Background: College attendance has become a crucial determinant of life chances in U.S. society. Besides college costs and academic preparation, college-related cultural and social capital may help explain socioeconomic differences in whether and where students attend college. While high school counselors are seen as potential agents of social capital, the standard counseling model, developed to serve middle-class students, may not translate effectively to schools serving disadvantaged students. The college coach program, introduced in 12 nonselective Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in the fall of 2004, provides an alternative model. In contrast to the standard high school counseling model, college coaches take a "community organizer" role in assisting the college enrollment process. Statistical difference-in-differences analysis suggests that coaches may have improved the kinds of colleges that students attended, particularly for less advantaged students (Stephan, 2010). Purpose: This qualitative study describes how the coach program works and analyzes key aspects that may explain its positive relationship with college enrollment outcomes. Participants: Interviews were conducted between the spring of 2006 and spring of 2007 with 9 current and former college coaches, 2 postsecondary specialists (to whom the coaches report), and 30 high school seniors in 2 coach schools, which, like other non-selective CPS high schools, serve students who are predominantly African American or Latino and low-income. Research Design: Responses to semi-structured interviews with coaches and students were coded for recurring themes and according to interview questions. A model of how coaches create social capital emerged from iterations between coding interviews and studying previous research on the creation of social capital. Conclusions: The results suggest that coaches use new advising strategies (different from typical school counseling practices) to increase students' college-related social capital and subsequently increase the number of students completing college actions, which may explain improved enrollment outcomes. This research highlights previously tacit assumptions about how counseling should work and details new advising procedures that may benefit disadvantaged students in the college enrollment process. More generally, this research discusses specific social mechanisms through which policy or institutions may create social capital to improve educational attainment.
Descriptors: Social Capital, Interviews, Coaching (Performance), Counseling Techniques, Comprehensive Guidance, Educational Counseling, Disadvantaged, Enrollment Influences, Socioeconomic Influences, Developmental Studies Programs, Educational Practices, High School Seniors, Counselor Attitudes, Student Attitudes, Low Income Groups
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois