|About the Book|
Given that little is known about the college choice processes of any particular Brazilian university student population, whether black, white, poor, or rich, beyond anecdotal assumptions of how students find their way into universities, and thatMoreGiven that little is known about the college choice processes of any particular Brazilian university student population, whether black, white, poor, or rich, beyond anecdotal assumptions of how students find their way into universities, and that policies meant to democratize university access are implemented with little knowledge of the access experiences of students, this dissertation addresses this research need by examining and comparing the college choice processes of 44 current, first- and second-year students enrolled at a public and a private university in Rio de Janeiro. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with informants from a wide range of socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, analyzed through the lens of social and cultural capital theory and the concept of microaggressions, this study looks at the influences that led to the development of participants college attendance aspirations and the choice factors that contributed to their final university selections.-Findings indicated that middle and high socioeconomic status (SES) informants received consistent messages from their families, friends, and schools that they were expected to attend college and they relied on their core network throughout the admissions process, while low SES students often received conflicting messages from their core social network and had to actively build social networks in order to obtain college knowledge. Evidence suggests that blackness carries negative stereotypes in Brazil, one of which is that poor non-whites are unlikely to attend college, possibly contributing to the lower educational aspirations and college participation of non-whites. The majority of participants considered relatively similar university choice-sets that were tightly bound to what they saw as financially, academically, competitively and practicably plausible. Class- and race-based affirmative action policies made universities more attractive to low SES and non-white students, because they believed their admissions chances were better. These findings confirm class- and race-based inequalities in the development of post-secondary aspirations and the disproportional impact of structural barriers on low SES and racially underrepresented students, while supporting the need for policies that address these inequalities and advocating the use of admissions processes that consider the broad range of human experiences.