The Transition to College: Racial/Ethnic Differences in Adjustment and Outcomes

Mary J. Fischer, Princeton University

The transition to college is recognized by many researchers as crucial to students' eventual success in college. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, I examine the transition to college for a cohort of black, Hispanic, Asian, and white students from 28 elite colleges and universities in terms of the ties students form to others on campus. I analyze how these ties are related to early college outcomes (grades, integration, and dropping out) for students from different racial/ethnic groups. My findings generally support the idea that interactions in the academic and social realms lead to integration in these respective realms. However, there are differences across racial/ethnic groups in the extent of ties formed and the impact these ties have on outcomes. In particular, black and Hispanic students who have greater social involvement are much less likely to leave college and tend to get better grades.

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Presented in Session 13: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Schooling