Urban Universities and the College Choice Process: Exploring the Role of Academic Identity


  • Jesse Nelson Indiana University Bloomington


Higher Education, Diversity, Gender Gap, Academic Identity


By the end of the 20th century, females were enrolling in undergraduate programs at a higher rate than their male counterparts. This female advantage persists across racial groups and applies to most students living in urban areas. Within the urban context, it is most pronounced among poor Hispanic and Asian students and among working class and elite white students. Because the gender gap in college enrollment is not fully explained by family income, race, and location of residence, this paper suggests the inclusion of academic identity as an explanatory concept. Further, a greater understanding of academic identity holds the key to more effective and poweiful partnerships between institutions of higher education and members of the community.