Yang Va LorMay 30, 2023
How Social Class Shapes Where High-Achieving Students Apply to College
Rutgers University Press 2023
High-achieving students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to end up at less selective institutions compared to their socioeconomically advantaged peers with similar academic qualifications. A key reason for this is that few highly able, socioeconomically disadvantaged students apply to selective institutions in the first place.
In Unequal Choices: How Social Class Shapes Where High-Achieving Students Apply to College (Rutgers University Press, 2023), Dr. Yang Va Lor examines the college application choices of high-achieving students, looking closely at the ways the larger contexts of family, school, and community influence their decisions. For students today, contexts like high schools and college preparation programs shape the type of colleges that they deem appropriate, while family upbringing and personal experiences influence how far from home students imagine they can apply to college. Additionally, several mechanisms reinforce the reproduction of social inequality, showing how institutions and families of the middle and upper-middle class work to procure advantages by cultivating dispositions among their children for specific types of higher education opportunities.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.