Self-Elimination' in Higher Education: An Analysis of Latino High School Seniors' Decision-Making in Applying to Four-Year Colleges

Malihe S. Kigasari :

Mentor: John U. Ogbu, Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology

Mali will investigate how Latino seniors at an inner city high school in Oakland make decisions about applying to prestigious institutions of higher education such as the University of California at Berkeley. Mali's project has evolved out of previous fieldwork, in which she uncovered unexpected data suggesting a pattern she terms "self-elimination": Latino students who were qualified to apply to academically stronger institutions, nevertheless elected to apply to community colleges. In this follow-up study, Mali will use qualitative, "new ethnographic" research methods to gain insight into her student informants' beliefs, behaviors and self-concepts regarding their higher education goals. The resulting Senior Honors Thesis in Anthropology will have important implications for public policy in the State of California.