Class, Race, and College Admissions in Top-Tier Secondary Schools
Drawing on deep and sustained contact with students, parents, teachers, and administrators at three iconic secondary schools in the United States, the authors unveil a formidable process of class positioning at the heart of the college admissions process. They detail the ways students and parents exploit every opportunity and employ every bit of cultural, social, and economic capital they can in order to gain admission into a “Most Competitive” or “Highly Competitive Plus” university. Moreover, they show how admissions into these schools—with their attendant rankings—are used to lock in or improve class standing for the next generation. It’s a story of class warfare within a given class, the substrata of which—whether economically, racially, or socially determined—are fiercely negotiated through the college admissions process.
In a historic moment marked by deep economic uncertainty, anxieties over socioeconomic standing are at their highest. Class, as this book shows, must be won, and the collateral damage of this aggressive pursuit may just be education itself, flattened into a mere victory banner.
1. Class, Race, and College Admissions in a Changing US Context
2. Schooling in Privileged Spaces
3. Class Practices and the College Process in a Suburban, Public High School: Creating Distinction around the Highly Selective College-Going Self
4. Micromanaging the College Admissions Process: Leaving Nothing to Chance at Matthews Academy
5. “Outsiders Within”: Relative Opportunities for Low-Income Black Students in Elite Private Secondary Schools
6. Race and Class Matters
7. Class, Race, and Postsecondary Destinations in New Global Circumstances
Epilogue: Details and Reflections on Theory and Methods