Chapter 5 focuses on the last of the three friendship network types: samplers. Samplers are students who made individual friendships at a variety of places—such as campus clubs, classes, and workplaces—but most of their friends did not know each other. The chapter opens by highlighting the experiences of Martin. As Martin’s experience shows, I students who sampled friendships lacked crucial social support and did not rely on friends for much academic help. They ended up with high academic outcomes, but feeling socially and academically isolated. Samplers typically felt disappointed with their college friendships and “all alone” when it came to academics. On the one hand, this shows that friends are not necessary for academic success. On the other hand, this raises the question, could samplers be even more successful if they allowed their friends to be friends with academic benefits? The chapter ends with suggestions for students, parents, college administrators, policymakers and researchers to better support students with sampler networks.
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