As I was conducting research for my upcoming paper, I read several interesting studies from a book titled Social Class and Transitions to Adulthood by Jeylan Mortimer. The topics of the studies varied, but all were related to social class and young adulthood in some capacity. The study that I found most interesting was titled “Breaking Barriers or Locked Out? Class-based perceptions and experiences of postsecondary education.” This study found that schools often perpetuate existing inequalities, as students are ‘sorted’ at various stages of their education. The author compared the path to educational achievement to a funnel that filters out disadvantaged students over time. Here are examples of stages where students may be ‘filtered out’ of the educational system:
-making the decision to pursue postsecondary education
-the application process
-enrolling in/attending postsecondary school
-completing a postsecondary degree
Not everyone who applies to college actually attends, and not everyone who attends college actually earns a degree. At each phase, there are fewer students. For this reason, the author made several policy recommendations – such as support systems for first-generation students, college reentry programs, more flexible programs and requirements, and courses that encourage extracurricular involvement – that colleges could use to retain students and prevent the filtering of disadvantaged students over time.