Unequal Playing Fields, Same Game: Variations in Students' Approaches to the College Application Process in Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Schools
Megan Holland

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



State University of New York at Buffalo

Primary Discipline

My dissertation examines how students engage in the college application process and how this varies by race, class and gender. I use extensive interview, observation, and survey data from 117 respondents at two racially diverse high schools to track students over time as they go through their junior and senior years and trace the pathways they take on their road to college. I gather data on where students get information from, why they tap one resource and not another, and how they weigh the information available to them when making college decisions. While others have explored aspects of this process in homogenous contexts, I shed light on how a diverse range of students are influenced differently by the same school context. My initial findings point to the complex role of social capital and how peer networks and relationships with institutional gatekeepers such as guidance counselors can both expand and constrict a student?s college options and the resources at their disposal.
About Megan Holland

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