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Deciding to Forgo College: Non-College Attendees' Reflections on Family, School, and Self

by Jennifer A. Lindholm - 2006

This article, based on work funded by the American Association of University Women, examines how personal and environmental factors shape non-college attendees' decisions to forgo college directly after high school. Group interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 48 racially diverse recent high school graduates (27 men and 21 women) who had not attended any 2-year or 4-year college since completing high school. All graduated from public high schools in Los Angeles, California, and were between 18 and 21 years of age at the time that were interviewed. Findings highlight study participants' current pursuits, their perspectives on college, the factors that influenced their post–high school life decisions (particularly home and school environments), and their reflections on whether they would do anything differently given the opportunity to turn back time. Considered within Persell's multidimensional framework, the findings lend support to the combined effects of societal, institutional, interactional, and intrapsychic variables in producing differential educational outcomes and post–high school life paths. Especially noteworthy is the transcendent effect across race, gender, and socioeconomic status of efficacy beliefs in shaping educational choices.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 4, 2006, p. 577-603
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12362, Date Accessed: 8/8/2020 4:26:59 AM

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About the Author
  • Jennifer Lindholm
    University of California, Los Angeles
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER A. LINDHOLM is visiting assistant professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles, and associate director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute. Her current research interests include the structural and cultural dimensions of academic work; the career development, pedagogical practices, and work experiences of college and university faculty; and college students’ personal and affective development. Her most recent work has been published in The Journal of Higher Education and The Review of Higher Education.
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