We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

African Americans and College Choice

The Influence of Family and School

Kassie Freeman, M. Christopher Brown II

Publication Year: 2005

Acknowledging the disparity between the number of African American high school students who aspire toward higher education and the number who actually attend, this book uncovers factors that influence African American students’ decisions regarding college. Kassie Freeman brings new insights to the current body of research on African Americans and higher education by examining the impact that family, school, community, and home have in the decision-making process. She explores specific factors that contribute to a student’s predisposition toward higher education, including gender, economics, and high school curriculum, and seeks to bridge the gap in understanding why aspiration does not immediately translate into participation. Educators and policy makers interested in increasing African American students’ participation in higher education will benefit from the exploration of this paradox.

Published by: State University of New York Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.5 KB)
pp. vii


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.2 KB)
pp. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (51.8 KB)
pp. xi-xviii

Kassie Freeman’s book African Americans and College Choice: The Influence of Family and School marks a paradigm shift in the investigation of two areas of scholarly inquiry—college choice and African American students. The general contention has been that all students bring the same schematic processes to the college selection and attendance process. The accepted belief in the ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (45.5 KB)
pp. xix-xxiii

The research on African Americans in every facet of higher education is sorely lacking, from their decision-making process as to whether or not to participate in higher education to their actual participation in the graduate school pipeline. While there is much researchers know in general about the college choice process (the decision to participate in higher education, the search for an institution, and the selection of an institution), there is still much to ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.7 KB)
pp. xxv

I want to sincerely thank Professors Walter Allen of the University of California at Los Angeles, Robert Crowson of Vanderbilt University, Terrence E. Deal of the University of Southern California, and James Hearn of Vanderbilt University, without whose confidence in my ideas and research this book never would have been possible. They each, in different but very important ways, have ...

read more

INTRODUCTION: The Puzzle of College Aspirations versus Attendance

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.2 KB)
pp. 1-7

African Americans have always placed a high premium on education, believing it to be the one commodity that could empower them. African American sociologist Billingsley (1992) writes that “the thirst for learning like the thirst for family life crossed the Atlantic with the African captives” (p. 174). That very fact makes it even more puzzlling, then, that on the one ...

Part One: Familial and Individual Influences

pdf iconDownload PDF (19.2 KB)

read more

1. The Influence of Family

pdf iconDownload PDF (59.3 KB)
pp. 11-19

Wrongly, African American families are often accused of not being involved or interested in the outcome or the educational process of their children. Whether it is participating in a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting at the elementary and secondary level or assisting students in the transition to higher education institutions, African American parents are depicted as ...

read more

2. Turning Point: When Decisions are Made

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.7 KB)
pp. 21-31

Since the process of deciding to attend college is complex, in order to influence the process it is imperative to better understand when African American students begin to decide that higher education is an option or to reject it as an option. Yet, surprisingly, very little research appears to be conducted on narrowing the ...

read more

3. Gender Issues: The College Choice Process of African American Females and Males

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.7 KB)
pp. 33-40

Much has been made of the decreasing number of African American males who participate in higher education. Among the more than fourteen million students enrolled in American colleges and universities in 1994, African American men had the lowest male-to-female ratio when compared to all other ethnic groups (Cuyjet, 1997). Therefore, understanding how African ...

read more

4. Economic Expectation and College Choice

pdf iconDownload PDF (45.8 KB)
pp. 41-47

Academicians continue to be in denial about students’ economic expectation from higher education even though surveys such as the one completed by Boyer (1987) demonstrated that in the late 1980s an overwhelming number of college-bound high school students (90 percent) indicated that they were considering college as a means of getting a good job and that parents (88 percent) were ...

Part Two School Influences

pdf iconDownload PDF (19.2 KB)

read more

5. Curriculum Issues and Choice

pdf iconDownload PDF (53.4 KB)
pp. 51-58

The curriculum, even at the elementary and secondary school levels, has much to do with whether or not African American students choose higher education. Just as soul is an essential part of an individual, the curriculum can be defined as the soul—the central part—of a school at any level, whether primary, secondary, or postsecondary. A school’s curriculum validates an individual’s ...

read more

6. Channeling Long and Wrong

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.1 KB)
pp. 59-67

How the seeds of desire for upward mobility are planted, who plants them, and how they are cultivated are interesting phenomena. Equally interesting is what happens when there are strong desires, and yet no cultivation of those desires. This metaphor of the seeds of desire describes what often happens when students, in this case African Americans, have the desire for upward mobility ...

read more

7. Decision Making by High School Type: High Schools Successful in Channeling

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.0 KB)
pp. 69-79

Although much has been written about the influence of the location of the high school attended on a student’s decision to attend college (Boyle, 1966), it is not so much the location of the high school as the funding available and services provided that can make the difference in the ability of schools to channel students toward higher education. ...

read more

8. Selection of Higher Education Institution Type: HBCU or PWI?

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.0 KB)
pp. 81-96

There is much researchers know about the experiences of African Americans within different higher education institution types. Some of the well-known researchers in the field of education include Walter Allen (1992), Edgar Epps (1972), Jacqueline Fleming (1984), Michael Nettles (1988), and Reginald Wilson (1994). These scholars have written widely about the ...

Part Three Putting the Puzzle Together

pdf iconDownload PDF (19.2 KB)

read more

9. Students Offer Solutions

pdf iconDownload PDF (48.6 KB)
pp. 99-108

Researchers and policymakers rarely include the ideas, perceptions, or suggestions of individuals who are the focus of their studies in the development of solutions to the individuals’ own problems. Although individuals or groups are often asked their opinions about their plight, they are seldom asked to participate in the development of programs or models that will improve their ...

read more

10.The Case for Expanding the College Choice Model

pdf iconDownload PDF (35.4 KB)
pp. 109-111

As pointed out in this book, the Hossler and Gallagher (1987) model needs to be greatly expanded to include cultural characteristics. Since it is widely accepted (and further demonstrated in this book) that family and schools play a major role in influencing students’ aspirations and motivations to participate in higher education, the individual and collective roles that each plays are crucial for African American students. ...

APPENDIX: Design of the Study

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.0 KB)
pp. 113-117


pdf iconDownload PDF (54.2 KB)
pp. 119-126


pdf iconDownload PDF (47.1 KB)
pp. 127-132

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484500
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791461914
Print-ISBN-10: 0791461912

Page Count: 158
Illustrations: 11 figures
Publication Year: 2005