Against the Current: The Role of Cultural Capital, Habitus, and Institutional Background for Community College Transfer Students and Oxford Continuees at Emory University Open Access

Proper, Faith Lynae (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/70795844s?locale=en
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Abstract

What factors impact transfer student success? A plethora of educational research informs our opinions of who succeeds, but less is known about why they succeed. What individual and institutional factors help transfer students integrate into their new campus environment? More specifically, how can individual factors (e.g. cultural and social capital) and institutional factors (how colleges shape students' habitus) interact to impact transfer student outcomes? Oxford College, the two-year division of Emory University, presents a unique opportunity to separate the effects of individual and institutional factors for students in transition. Using in-depth interviews with nine community college transfer students, ten Oxford Continuees, and six staff members, I analyzed their experiences as or with students in transition to evaluate the effects of cultural capital, social capital, habitus, and how their previous college shaped their expectations for college life on their integration at Emory. The findings indicate that cultural and social capital resources vary significantly and effect how well students are able to prepare and adjust for difficulties encountered during their transition. Additionally, experiences with their previous colleges influence how students approach their transition and how they prioritize their capital investments. Tinto's Model of Student Integration is modified to be more applicable to community college transfer students' after transfer. This study furthers our knowledge about the role of cultural capital, social capital, and habitus for transfer students at elite, private universities. I conclude by proposing policy recommendations based on the findings to bring institutional programs more in line with community college transfer student and Oxford Continuee expectations to aid in their success.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Overview of Previous Literature and Theoretical Models................1

Chapter 2 - Whom Shall I Study: Designing a Natural Experiment...................25

Chapter 3 - Capital and Consequences.....................................................39

Chapter 4 - Hierarchy, Habitus, and Institutional Context.............................67

Chapter 5 - Where do we go from here?....................................................87

Works Cited........................................................................................102

Appendix 1 - Participant Demographics and Pseudonyms..............................109

Appendix 2 - List of Codes.....................................................................110

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