NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ775438
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 22
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0316-1218
"I Just Didn't Feel Like I Fit in": The Role of Habitus in University Dropout Decisions
Lehmann, Wolfgang
Canadian Journal of Higher Education, v37 n2 p89-110 2007
In recent years, there has been an increasingly pervasive discourse regarding the need for high levels of post-secondary education for life course success in a knowledge economy. Correspondingly, most Western industrialized nations have seen a drastic increase in university enrolment. Although we do know that access to university continues to be constrained by social class, we know little about factors contributing to dropping out of university. Using qualitative data obtained through semi-structured interviews, in this paper I investigate whether first-generation student status and social class affect individuals' university experiences and decisions to drop out. Key findings suggest that first-generation students are more likely to leave university early--often despite solid academic performance. Reasons for leaving university without graduating are centred around class-cultural discontinuities, such as not fitting in, not "feeling university," and not being able to relate to other students. These discontinuities are interpreted as a clash between an old and a newly developing habitus. (Contains 1 table and 3 notes.)
Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. P.O. Box 34091, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5, Canada. Tel: 204-474-6404; Fax: 204-474-7561; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A