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Class WarfareClass, Race, and College Admissions in Top-Tier Secondary Schools$
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Lois Weis, Kristin Cipollone, and Heather Jenkins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226134895

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226135083.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Micromanaging the College Admissions Process

Micromanaging the College Admissions Process

Leaving Nothing to Chance at Matthews Academy

(p.79) Chapter Four Micromanaging the College Admissions Process
Class Warfare

Lois Weis

Kristin Cipollone

Heather Jenkins

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 4 picks up the same set of questions as chapter 3 among students and parents in a NAIS co-educational day school, tracing how students and parents enact and conceptualize their work in secondary school, and the ways in which they approach the process of preparing for college applications and admissions. We follow the students through the college application process in a highly detailed manner, with specific attention paid to all college related activities, including the work of the school counselors with regard to the top 20 percent of students in the class. In this chapter, we argue that the differences in class work that exist between parents and students in chapters 3 and 4 are tied to distinct differences in the discursive and material practices that become normative in a particular school sector. In the case at hand, differentially located parents and students (those in elite/affluent private versus elite/affluent public secondary schools) conceptualize and enact noticeably different “class work” at the point of college admissions, even though parent SES is largely comparable. Parents in the NAIS school more heavily monitor the college application process and students and parents constantly self-assess in order to select the “right” postsecondary destination.

Keywords:   private secondary schools, micromanaging college applications, school sector and class practices, choosing the “right” schools, college counseling and “managing” expectations, self-assessment, class positioning

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