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Challenge

Abstract

This study extends research on college choice, with recent national survey data, by examining what African American students say about the importance of college athletic reputation in choosing which school to attend. We use the Educational Longitudinal Survey to examine the overall distribution of self-reported factors that shape college choices among African American high school seniors who express plans to attend college immediately after high school. We then conduct factor analysis to examine the structure of relations among the diverse factors shaping student preferences and their contribution to understanding variation in the college choice process among African Americans. Finally, to understand the effect of athletic reputation relative to other relevant college selection and access factors, we undertake logistic regression analyses. Our descriptive results show that roughly one out of every three African American respondents report that a school’s athletic reputation is at least a somewhat important consideration in determining their college choice. The factor analysis for the full sample revealed five common dimensions--Academic/Career, Economic/Practical, Demographic, and Social. Academic/Career considerations-- representing the strongest factors, with Social/Academic/Career considerations ranked somewhat lower in importance across analysis groups.

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