Investigating the Postsecondary Transitions of Urban Public School Students
Sara Goldrick-Rab

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Higher education
This study examines variation in the college pathways and transitions of urban public school students. Nationwide, over 50% of college students attend more than one institution and nearly one-third take some time off after starting college and later return. Yet postsecondary pathways are often conceptualized as linear and uninterrupted, understating a significant aspect of educational inequality. There is a persistent social class gap in college completion partly shaped by class differences in how students attend college. Using new data from the Chicago Postsecondary Transition Project on Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students, this study asks: a) What are the predominant postsecondary attendance patterns of Chicago public school students who enroll in college? b) In what ways are postsecondary transitions linked to race, gender, or social class? and c) How do the earlier schooling experiences of Chicago public school students shape their college pathways? This focus is unique— while most students attend nonselective institutions, many researchers utilize databases that restrict the scope of study to relatively advantaged students attending elite schools. Thus, this study will produce new theoretical and practical insights into the nature of urban students’ postsecondary transitions, and the role that early schooling plays in affecting later college experiences and outcomes.
About Sara Goldrick-Rab

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