Black and Latin students are less influenced by their friends in college

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Does having close friends going to college increase the likelihood that someone will enroll?

Steven Alvarado, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University, found that this is in fact true for white and Asian students, but less for their Black and Latinx counterparts.

“Black and Latino students certainly derive benefits from having college friends in high school,” Alvarado said, “but the benefits are not as widespread for these students as they are for white and Asian students when it comes to university enrollment. “

Alvarado turned to the US Department of Education’s High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, a nationally representative survey of 24,000 students who were followed and interviewed through college. The survey asked the question “How many of your close friends are planning to attend four-year college?” “

He found that for all students combined, having friends in college increased the likelihood of enrolling in any college by six percentage points. But for black and Latin students, the advantage was much smaller. The loss was greater for male students than for female students, and as colleges became more selective.

Alvarado said one way to improve college enrollment rates for black and Latin students is for high schools to think about ways to better integrate families into the college admissions process. . “Friendships,” said Alvarado, “perhaps when combined with a culturally sensitive approach to college, can be a vital piece of the puzzle that is needed to improve racial and ethnic disparities in college enrollment. ‘university”.

the complete survey just appeared in the American Journal of Educational Research.

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