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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"College Concierges"

Many posts have discussed inequality in higher education.

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf reports at Inside Higher Ed:
A new report on parental involvement and wealth shaping a college student’s experience presents the following striking scenario: one student is accepted into a prestigious dental program, steered by her family, who also carefully shape her undergraduate path.
Another, much poorer student, announces her intention to be a dentist, but without the same level of expertise and service from her parents ends up in $11-an-hour dental assistant job, which doesn’t even require a bachelor’s degree.
Research published recently in Sociology of Education tracks a contingent of female students from 41 families in their years at an unnamed flagship public institution in the Midwest. The authors of the study show how parents' affluence can significantly boost their children’s college and employment prospects. But it also demonstrates that the working class rely on resources -- programs for low-income students, advisers, tutors -- touted by institutions that may not be accessible or affordable.
Because colleges have struggled financially, too, the focus has turned to the more affluent students and their families -- the ones who bring in greater tuition dollars, the researchers said.
The authors classify the parents into two categories -- one, the richer counterparts, were dubbed the “college concierges” versus the “college outsiders.” 
Characteristics of the “college concierge”: parents are offering academic and social support, selecting an institution for social or competitive academic programming, playing a role in where students live, providing tailored and purposive academic and career guidance, encouraging engagement in social and extracurricular activities, offering party safety advice and family ties to the Greek system, staying in frequent digital and physical contact.
Characteristics of the “college outsider”: parents are viewing college attendance as not inevitable or desirable, not feeling equipped to offer academic or career advice, expecting the university to offer comprehensive academic and career counseling, not being familiar with the college party scene, having limited contact with their students, not being aware of problems or not intervening, and not knowing about support programs.