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(Mis)reading Social Class in the Journey Towards College: Youth Development In Urban America


by Janice L. Bloom — 2007

While college is perceived as a given for many middle- and upper-income students graduating from high school, the transition from secondary to higher education is a much more complicated one for low-income students, particularly poor and working-class students of color. This article focuses on the critical juncture—one that is under-explored in both the literature on secondary schools and higher education—that these students arrive at when they graduate from high school, and their decision-making processes about whether or not to attend college. What are students worried about? Who are they receiving help from? What do they already know and not know about colleges and the differences between them? How are they making choices about where to apply, and then where to go? What stumbling blocks do they encounter, what are their doubts and fears? Drawing on research conducted at three small urban public schools over the course of a year, this article offers an important lens on the ways that social class shapes students’ developmental experiences and choices, paving some roads and obstructing easy access down others.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 2, 2007, p. 343-368
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12792, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 4:40:02 AM

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About the Author
  • Janice Bloom
    Eugene Lang College/The New School for Liberal Studies
    E-mail Author
    JANICE BLOOM is an Assistant Professor in the Education Studies Department at Eugene Lang College/The New School for Liberal Studies. She taught in New York City public high schools for seven years, and received her doctorate in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her work focuses on issues of social class, urban schools, and access to higher education. Her publications include “Hollowing the Promise of Higher Education: Inside the Political Economy of Access to College” in Beyond Silenced Voices: Race, Class and Gender in United States Schools, edited by Lois Weis and Michelle Fine (2005).
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