College Choice Priorities between Foreign-born and US-born Black Students
Degree awarded: M.A. Sociology. American University
This study investigates the differences in college choice priorities between foreign-born and US-born Black students in order to explain the large presence of Black immigrants in the Black population at top universities relative to their proportion in the nation's Black college-age population. Ogbu's cultural-ecological theory and Bourdieu's cultural capital concept guided this research in that foreign-born students were expected to seek aspects of colleges that would enhance their cultural capital, such as college rankings, while US-born students were expected to choose colleges based on more practical aspects of colleges, such as low tuition, because of these groups' different historical contexts in America. However, there was no supporting evidence for our main hypotheses. Instead, mother's education, number of college applications, and income were found related to college choice. Such findings suggest that for college choice immigrant status is not important. Further research may switch focus to college admissions officers' decisions.