American Sociological Association

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  1. The Organizational Ecology of College Affordability: Research Activity, State Grant Aid Policies, and Student Debt at U.S. Public Universities

    Sociologists have theorized U.S. universities as a heterogenous organizational ecology. We use this lens to compare student debt and college prices for low-income students across public universities according to their research intensiveness and varied state grant aid policies. We show that students at research-intensive public universities have had an easier time repaying student loans than at other schools.
  2. Beyond Tracking and Detracking: The Dimensions of Organizational Differentiation in Schools

    Schools use an array of strategies to match curricula and instruction to students’ heterogeneous skills. Although generations of scholars have debated ‘‘tracking’’ and its consequences, the literature fails to account for diversity of school-level sorting practices.

  3. Understanding Variation in Estimates of Diversionary Effects of Community College Entrance: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

    Decades of research have estimated the effect of entering a community college on bachelor’s degree attainment. In this study, we examined the influence of methodological choices, including sample restrictions and identification strategies, on estimated effects from studies published between 1970 and 2017. After systematically reviewing the literature, we leveraged meta-analysis to assess average estimates and examine the role of moderators.

  4. Emergence of Third Spaces: Exploring Trans Students’ Campus Climate Perceptions Within Collegiate Environments

    Our study aims to understand trans students’ perceptions of campus climate, with a particular focus on students’ demographics, academic experiences, and cocurricular experiences. We use Bhabha’s concept of third space as an epistemological lens and Rankin and Reason’s transformational tapestry model as a theoretical framework. Using a national sample of 207 trans collegians from the National LGBTQ Alumnx Survey, we utilize regression analysis supplemented by an analysis of open-ended responses to highlight the experiences of trans respondents.

  5. Equalization or Selection? Reassessing the “Meritocratic Power” of a College Degree in Intergenerational Income Mobility

    Intergenerational mobility is higher among college graduates than among people with lower levels of education. In light of this finding, researchers have characterized a college degree as a great equalizer leveling the playing field, and proposed that expanding higher education would promote mobility. This line of reasoning rests on the implicit assumption that the relatively high mobility observed among college graduates reflects a causal effect of college completion on intergenerational mobility, an assumption that has rarely been rigorously evaluated. This article bridges this gap.

  6. Brilliant or Bad: The Gendered Social Construction of Exceptionalism in Early Adolescence

    From kindergarten through college, students perceive boys as more intelligent than girls, yet few sociological studies have identified how school processes shape students’ gender status beliefs. Drawing on 2.5 years of longitudinal ethnography and 196 interviews conducted at a racially diverse, public middle school in Los Angeles, this article demonstrates how educators’ differential regulation of boys’ rule-breaking by course level contributed to gender-based differences in students’ perceptions of intelligence.

  7. Queer Integrative Marginalization: LGBTQ Student Integration Strategies at an Elite University

    The author draws on the oral histories of 44 LGBTQ Princeton alumni who graduated from 1960 to 2011 to examine student strategies for negotiating marginal identities when integrating into an elite university. Even with greater LGBTQ visibility and resources at the institutional level, LGBTQ students’ experiences and strategies suggest that we question the larger social narrative of linear progress.

  8. The Conscripted Curriculum and the Reproduction of Racial Inequalities in Contemporary U.S. Medical Education

    In their attempt to address racial disparities in the provision of healthcare, the U.S. medical profession has reproduced racial inequalities of their own. In this article, I draw upon interview data with medical educators and students to detail how medical educators routinely offload the instruction on the social underpinnings and consequences of race onto students, particularly students of color. I develop the concept of the conscripted curriculum to capture how students’ social identities are utilized by educators in the professionalization process.
  9. Aspiration Squeeze: The Struggle of Children to Positively Selected Immigrants

    Why is it that children of immigrants often outdo their ethnic majority peers in educational aspirations yet struggle to keep pace with their achievements? This article advances the explanation that many immigrant communities, while positively selected on education, still have moderate absolute levels of schooling. Therefore, parents’ education may imbue children with high expectations but not always the means to fulfill them.
  10. Symbolically Maintained Inequality: How Harvard and Stanford Students Construct Boundaries among Elite Universities

    The study of elites is enjoying a revival at a time of increasing economic inequality. Sociologists of education have been leaders in this area, researching how affluent families position their children to compete favorably in a highly stratified higher education system. However, scholars have done less research on how students do symbolic work of their own to bolster elite status. In this study, we use qualitative interviews with 56 undergraduates at Harvard and Stanford Universities to explore how students construct a status hierarchy among elite campuses.