Examines the everyday experiences of high school seniors as they choose their colleges and demonstrates that college choice is a more complex social and organizational reality than has been previously understood.
Based on interviews with students, parents, and counselors as well as case studies of the college guidance environments of a working-class public school, an upper-middle-class public school, a private preparatory school, and a Catholic school, McDonough examines the everyday experiences of high school seniors as they choose their colleges. The author shows that college choice is a more complex social and organizational reality than has been previously understood and shows how families and schools mutually influence individual student outcomes and our higher education opportunity structure.
After half a century of increasing federal, state, and private investments in higher education, phenomenal growth in the number of colleges, and enrollments of almost fifteen million students, Choosing Colleges asks why it is that there are vast differentials in college access. McDonough addresses access and equity issues by documenting how student college-choice decision making is influenced by colleges, high schools, parents, friends, and the media.
Patricia M. McDonough is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA.
"I think in-depth case studies and interpretive analyses of students' college decision making can provide much needed additions to the college-choice literature. This book is a very welcome contribution to the genre. The reader is drawn irresistibly into the world of these young people as they proceed through this important choice process. " -- James C. Hearn, Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia
"The focus on the effects of family, friends, and high school counselors on college choice is a much needed addition to the college access literature. This book represents a major empirical advance in the field. It is a corrective to the individually-oriented education and status-attainment literature and it extends the organizational approach to education. " -- David Karen, Bryn Mawr College