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Based on interviews with students, parents, and counselors as well as case studies of the college guidance environments of a working-class public school, an upper-middle-class public school, a private preparatory school, and a Catholic school, McDonough examines the everyday experiences of high school seniors as they choose their colleges. The author shows that college choice is a more complex social and organizational reality than has been previously understood and shows how families and schools mutually influence individual student outcomes and our higher education opportunity structure.
After half a century of increasing federal, state, and private investments in higher education, phenomenal growth in the number of colleges, and enrollments of almost fifteen million students, Choosing Colleges asks why it is that there are vast differentials in college access. McDonough addresses access and equity issues by documenting how student college-choice decision making is influenced by colleges, high schools, parents, friends, and the media. [via]