Why low-income students struggle with transition to college

Vicki Madden, an instructional coach for the New York City Department of Education, wrote in The New York Times last week about her experience teaching low income students, and why they struggle with the culture shock as they transition to college:

My former students are attending Franklin and Marshall, Barnard, Bard, Colby. They are so much more worldly than I was. They've grown up in New York City, so they've hung out on the High Line, eaten sushi, visited museums and colleges on class trips. Their adjustment to college life in small towns hits different bumps than mine did...

But once those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds arrive on campus, it's often the subtler things, the signifiers of who they are and where they come from, that cause the most trouble, challenging their very identity, comfort and right to be on that campus. The more elite the school, the wider that gap.

Drawing on her personal transitions, Madden highlights the cultural shift that often challenges students. Madden suggests that these students are capable of doing the work, but it depends on whether they feel comfortable asking for help, financial aid ("If you don't have $700, it might as well be a million.") and how willing the students are to accept new social norms of their college.

Madden joins The Daily Circuit to talk about her piece.

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