Student Choice: Strength And Three Phase Concepts Of College Choice

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Combined Conceptual Models Attending to the limitations of both sociological and economic theoretical approaches, researchers suggest college choice decisions are not explained by one theoretical approach alone, but are best understood by integrated approaches which incorporate aspects of human capital models with sociological constructs (Freeman, 1997; Paulsen, 2001; Paulsen and St. John, 2002; Perna, 2000, 2006; St. John and Asker, 2001). In this section, I describe dominant conceptualizations of college choice focusing on limitations for students of color at the point in which students make key decisions. Three-Phase Model of College Choice. Integrating strengths and key constructs from the economic and sociological approaches, Hossler and…show more content…
Drawing from sociological constructs, the predisposition phase represents the period, generally between 7th and 10th grade in which students develop aspirations to attend college. Hossler and Gallagher (1987) posit students’ disposition toward college is shaped by socioeconomic status, academic achievement, and educational activities and initiates a trajectory that leads to students’ engagement in subsequent stages of the model, including a decision to continue formal education beyond high school (Bateman & Hossler, 1996). Both “aspirations” and “plans” have been used to model predisposition in quantitative studies, leading to difficulty in developing meaningful interpretations of this stage in the college choice process (Adelman, 1999; Deil-Amen & Tevis, 2010; Perna, 2006; Pitre & Pitre,…show more content…
216) as illustrated in the Appendix. Students’ preferences are a function of their background and individual characteristics (race, gender, and class, academic achievement, etc.), whereas attributes of the college may include tuition costs, selectivity, institution type, and campus environment (DesJardins et al., 2006). The authors conceive of courtship activities –merit aid awards and college recruitment--as being highly consequential in the enrollment decision and suggest non-aid courtship activities (e.g., recruitment events) “may be as important as actual financial aid awards” (p.

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