May 15, 2018
Think about the anticipation of entering college. What benefits and skills do you expect higher education to provide?
New research suggests that the skills we expect to develop in college can differ across classes. In "The Subtle Ways Colleges Discriminate Against Poor Students, Explained with a Cartoon," Vox.com writer and cartoonist Alvin Chang examines these findings in greater detail, including the impact of beliefs on college outcomes.
One study finds that first-generation college students tend to pursue college for more interdependent reasons, whereas continuing-generation college students tend to pursue college for more independent reasons. Take a look at the lists below. Which reasons do you think will resonate with you or would have resonated with you as a college freshman?
Interdependent Reasons: Help my family, provide a better life for my own children, give back to my community, and show that people with my background can do well.
Independent Reasons: Expand my knowledge of the world, expand my understanding of the world, explore new interests, and learn more about my interests.
The article discusses how these differing motivations can lead first-generation and/or working-class students to feel out of place or disconnected in college. As the article points out, colleges are often structured to better serve students with more independent motivations.
We are finding the article helpful as we write the next iteration of our curriculum. It’s important to remember that students approach education with different motivations and life experiences. One size can’t fit all, especially when it comes to financial education.