Organizational Habitus and College Choice: A Comparative Case Study of Two Majority-Black High Schools
thesisposted on 01.08.2019, 00:00 by Alexis L Rosario-Moore
While higher education offers greater levels of opportunity within American society and a larger proportion of high school graduates are enrolling in college, many Black students who aspire to attend college fail to enroll. This comparative case study examines the college choice process at one majority-Black, socioeconomically diverse neighborhood high school, and one majority-Black and economically isolated neighborhood high school within a highly segregated major Midwestern school district. By comparing the college choice process through the theoretical framework of organizational habitus, the study describes the influence of social class on the actual and normative aspects of the college choice process. Over the course of five months I conducted observations of postsecondary team meetings, interviewed school counselors, college coaches, school administrators, and 20 high school seniors during the final phase of the college choice process. The study found that school personnel organized the college choice process in response to perceptions of students’ college-going habitus resulting in a more highly structured, stratified, and constrained process for students attending the predominantly working-class high schools, while students at the predominantly middle-class high school experienced greater agency, and were further advantaged in the college choice process through increased access to college-linking networks.