Place of Residence and Higher Education Choice

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:50 PM
Room: F201
Oral Presentation
Shlomo GETZ , Sociology and Anthropology, Academic College of Emek Jezreel, Israel
It is generally assumed that the lower class faces restricted access to higher education and that opportunities of college choice and choice of field of study are restricted for lower class students.  Differences of students' choice by place of residence are usually explained by the socioeconomic status of the place of residence.

Studies conducted in Israel examined the effect of living in four types of locations (city, small town, Jewish village and Arab village) on higher education choices. Those locations may be ranked from high SES in the city through small town, Jewish village and finally the lowest SES in the Arab village. Those studies does not treat place of residence as a monolithic entity. They examine students’ patterns of college and field of studies choices controlling for individual SES and academic achievements. The hypothesis is that place of residence is not only a geographical attribute but also a social place that influences self-identity and plays a role in students' choice regardless SES or academic abilities.

Findings show that the place of residence has a net effect on students' choices, and it interacts with SES and with academic abilities. This effect is differential. "Successful "students from cities tend to enroll in more prestigious universities and in prestigious fields of study, like medicine and law.  Students from Arab villages tend to enroll in less prestigious universities and choose lower status fields of study, like paramedical studies. Students from towns and Jewish villages are similar in their choices. Less "successful" students are less influenced by their residential place.  

It is argued that those differences show an influence of residential place as a way of life, and create a 'habitus' based on locality. This `habitus` lead to differential college and fields of study choice, interacting with academic achievement and SES.