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The Transition to College from a Demographic Perspective: Past Findings and Future Possibilities


by Vida Maralani 2007

Background/Context:

This essay reviews recent demographic literature on school transitions. I describe how a demographic perspective, by which I mean using methods that are standard in the study of population processes, is a useful way to examine differences in access to and completion of post secondary schooling in the United States.

Purpose/Objective/Focus of Study:

I focus on studies that have been published in the past twenty years in the primary demographic journals. In addition, I describe several ways that a demographic perspective can inform future research on the transition to college. I provide several examples from recent studies that take this approach and review some methods and data sets that support research in this area.

Research Design:

This is a literature review of articles published in the primary demographic journals over the past 20 years.

Conclusions/Recommendations:

The existing literature on schooling published in the demographic journals is thin. The bulk of the existing studies focus on immigrant children and their advancement in school. This emphasis is quite relevant because race/ethnic differences in school progress are substantial. Missing from this literature, however, are studies that examine the role of age, timing, and the life cycle in educational attainment. This perspective offers the opportunity to apply well-developed theories and methods to the study of educational disparities. This perspective can provide useful lessons for public policy as well.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 10, 2007, p. 2287-2300
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12567, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 2:29:07 AM

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About the Author
  • Vida Maralani
    Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, University of Pennsylvania
    E-mail Author
    VIDA MARALANI is a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a sociologist who studies educational inequality and social stratification.She studies both the mechanisms that create educational inequality and the effect of educational inequality on other aspects of social inequality such as the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status. Currently, she is investigating the relationship between educational trajectories and health trajectories in adolescence and early adulthood.
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