The Post-Secondary Decision-Making Process for At-Risk Students in Ontario
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An important body of research examines the role of student decision-making on stratification and post-secondary transitions. In an era of expanded options, students often have to draw on personal, family and institutional resources to make informed decisions that fit with their academic background and personal interests. For students from low income households and neighbourhoods, the difficulty of making sound decisions is compounded by their lack of access to high status ties and cultural capital which can help them capitalize on such interactions. This sandwich dissertation examines the role of social and cultural capital in the decision-making process for at-risk students, using alignment theory to help evaluate the types of decisions students make over time. Using a longitudinal qualitative framework, students are interviewed at three time points to explore how these various types of capital interact with their decision-making. The first chapter focuses on the role of social capital, particularly institutional agents in helping students align their decision-making, prior to the college and university application deadlines in Ontario. The second chapter focuses on interviews with students after they have made their decisions for the fall, examining how their individual habitus orientations interact with the institutional habitus of school personnel; changes to decisions from their first interviews are also explored. The last chapter explores the theoretical affinity between rational actor theory and habitus, using alignment as a bridging theory to assess student decision-making and transitions over a 15 month period. While institutional agents were found to help students make informed decisions at various time points, the quality and duration of those ties, as well students’ early aspiration formation and academic background, were all critical for early alignment and successful post-secondary transitions.
Cite this version of the work
Rod Missaghian (2020). The Post-Secondary Decision-Making Process for At-Risk Students in Ontario. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16512