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The Perpetuation of Privilege: Exploring the Relationship Between Early Admissions and High-Impact Practices

Annie M. Wofford ()
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Annie M. Wofford: Northern Arizona University

Research in Higher Education, 2022, vol. 63, issue 8, No 2, 1312-1342

Abstract: Abstract Scholars have persistently recognized inequities in undergraduate college admissions and student engagement, especially with regard to specialized practices such as early admissions (i.e., early action and early decision, or EA/ED) and high-impact practices (HIPs). However, researchers have not yet considered whether the known social privileges of early admissions are associated with compounding privileges in terms of students’ participation in HIPs. Guided by a conceptual framework that places social capital and cumulative advantage in conversation with student engagement, this quantitative study explores whether the social privileges present among EA/ED students relate to greater participation in structures of college engagement, operationalized through the lens of HIPs. I use an analytic sample of 7657 undergraduate students who completed The Freshman Survey and the College Senior Survey (2013–2017), both administered by the Higher Education Research Institute, employing descriptive and multiple regression analyses to investigate the relationship between early admissions and later college engagement. Descriptive findings document many of the systemic privileges that EA/ED students hold and reveal that EA/ED students participate in certain types of HIPs more frequently than their regular admit peers. Further, regression results document several important predictors of HIP participation, including students’ social identities (e.g., sex, race, class), high school engagement and achievement, early admit status, and collegiate context, suggesting that access to college student engagement is not value neutral. Practical implications discuss the importance of questioning how—and for whom—specialized admissions and engagement programs serve.

Keywords: Early admissions; College admissions; Equity; High-impact practices; College student engagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11162-022-09681-z

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