The Role of Socioeconomic Status on Cultural Adaptation to Elite American Boarding Schools
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CitationCaryl-Klika, Timothy. 2018. The Role of Socioeconomic Status on Cultural Adaptation to Elite American Boarding Schools. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis explains some of the challenges elite American boarding schools, and their evolving high-school age student population, experience in regards to adapting to the unique cultures that these residential educational environments possess. One of the most significant changes that elite boarding schools have undergone in relatively recent history is a socioeconomic shift. Once founded as places for the aristocracy to send their male children for college preparation and life, the modern era has transformed a significant portion of the boarding school population in many ways. I consider the rise of financial aid, and the subsequent access to these institutions that rise brings, as a major contributor to a significant socioeconomic demographic shift at these schools. With this demographic shift of lower socioeconomic students enrolling, cultural adaptation issues arise at schools that have long built their cultures on serving an affluent population.
In order to understand the function that socioeconomic status has on boarding school cultural adaptation, I incorporate the results and analysis of a survey I developed specifically for this thesis. Boarding school cultural adaptation is defined by this thesis as the ability to adjust to new surroundings and navigate the cultural changes that are experienced when enrolling in a residential high school setting. The survey asked boarding school students a series of questions about both their cultural adaptation and their socioeconomic status. My hypothesis is there is a connection between some areas of cultural adaptation and socioeconomic status and establishes some specific areas of concern.
My research found that students of lower socioeconomic status at boarding schools have lower cultural adaptation levels for learning new skills and behaviors and handling personal difficulties. My research also compared the use of two different measures of socioeconomic status and showed different amplitudes of effect. My analysis indicates that when looking at cultural adaptation, there may be a stronger connection between one’s perception of socioeconomic status than one’s actual measurable condition.
In support of my research, I review data on changing school demographics, comparison research on the similarities that higher education has encountered dealing with cultural adjustment, and studies on how high school aged students are developmentally different. I also review various literature regarding how school cultures and socioeconomic status both affect schools and students, and how methods of cultural transmission occur. My research explores an intersecting area of educational culture, developmental age, and contemporary social importance that has previously been lightly investigated.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004042