Document Type

Honors Project


I would like to thank the Macalester Sociology Department faculty for their support, encouragement, and inspiration over four years of college. I would especially like to thank my honors advisor, Deb Smith, for helping me to intelligently pursue a topic about which I am deeply passionate.

Thank you also to my advisor, Mahnaz Kousha, for spurring my initial interest in sociology, and to Erik Larson and Keith Edwards for the insight the provided as members of my defense committee.

I am also deeply grateful for the help and support provided by my friends in the sociology department and especially for Evelyn Daugherty, who helped me stay sane enough to complete this project.


Previous research shows that participation in the extra-curriculum supports college students' integration, but participation varies based on students' background: working class students and first-generation college students tend to participate less. I contribute to this literature by analyzing interview data. I find students differ in how they participate in activities and integrate into college based on their likelihood of attending an elite institution. Working-class and first-generation students participate in activities as an extension of academics, while other students participate for social reasons, resulting in different experiences of campus life. This difference can restrict students' gains in social and cultural capital, potentially limiting any decrease in inequality that results from elite college access.



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