Class, Race Factor into Counselor's College Recommendations

By Banerji, Shilpa | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, August 24, 2006 | Go to article overview

Class, Race Factor into Counselor's College Recommendations


Banerji, Shilpa, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


High-school guidance counselors advise middle-class Black students without a strong academic record to apply to community colleges more often than they do middle-class White students with the same academic record, concludes a new study. However, when it came to students from upper-income families with low performances, White students were more likely to be recommended to community colleges than Black students.

The study, "High School Guidance Counselors: Facilitators or Pre-Emptors of Social Stratification in Education," found that class was a bigger factor than race when it came to counseling high-school students.

"Counselors seem sensitive to class and race. They both have impacts separately,' says Dr. Frank Linnehan, associate dean for undergraduate programs at Drexel University's Lebow College of Business and the study's co-author. "But class is positively related when it came to counselor recommendations to four-year colleges and negatively related when it came to community colleges."

But researchers were surprised that race made a difference, even after taking social class into account.

"Race only became a factor when it came to four-year schools as counselors recommended Black students to attend these institutions more strongly than White students," says Linnehan. "It was not a racist view but favored supporting the students"

Counselors were also more likely to recommend students with higher family incomes to four-year colleges regardless of the students' gender, academic performance and race. …

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