Forms of social capital: Family resources, campus networks, and dominant class advantage at an Elite University

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose-This chapter examines the role of family resources and social networks during the admissions process, across the college years and into postgraduation plans, and considers how different forms of social capital contribute to the intergenerational transmission of advantage. Methodology/approach-I conduct an analysis of survey data from a panel study of students attending a highly selective, private university. First, I examine how social class is associated with admissions resources, including family legacy ties to the institution, and access to campus networks. Next, I test the effects of campus networks and activities on end-of-college outcomes with logistic regression predicting graduation honors and multinomial logistic regression predicting expected and actual occupation about five years after graduation. Findings-A key benefit of an abundance of social capital is the ability to convert resources into other forms of capital and to compensate for deficits in other areas. Extensive campus networks-an example of immediate social capital-are associated with higher levels of academic performance, plans to attend graduate school, and high-status career aspirations. Admission preferences for legacies-an example of institutionalized social capital-disproportionately benefit white students from affluent families and serve to advantage an already advantaged group. Research limitations-This study is restricted to matriculants at an elite university, and results should not be generalized to all postsecondary students. Although social class is associated with differences in family resources and ties to campus, few elite university students enter college from households with absolute deficits of economic, cultural, or social capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-386
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Work
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Academic achievement
  • Legacy admits
  • Occupational attainment
  • Social capital
  • Student involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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