This week's readings were very relevant to me considering that I came from a low-income family, with a parent who attended a 2-year school and one parent who did not receive a high school diploma. The statistics show that there is a correlation with parents' level of education and a student's likelihood of attending college (Choy, 2001). While this makes sense, there are so many stories of uneducated families who push their children towards college (ie. the stereotype of the immigrant family). There are many variables that affect a student's education goals. In my family, I am the only sibling to have achieved a bachelor's degree, but I also was the only sibling to attend a private school which was college-oriented. But my parents always pushed college for each of their three children.
I think representation truly matters. The more role models whether it is parents or someone else who has achieved a higher education, the better chances a student has of attending college. I participated in an experimental program called Blueprint at Swarthmore College, where low-income Chester high school students spend time with black college students for 4 years. Several of those students continued on to some sort of 2-4 year program despite all of the odds against them. Of course some dropped out, whether from an unexpected pregnancy or other reasons. Regardless, I think seeing black students in college made a big difference for some of them. Not only was it just seeing black students in college, it was interacting with them and getting to know them on a personal level. I am still in contact with some of those students. Their self-confidence is high, much higher than when I first met them.
Choy, S. (2001). Students Whose Parents Did Not Go to College: Postsecondary Access, Persistence, and Attainment. Findings from the Condition of Education, 2001.