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No Map to Manhood: Male and Female Mindsets Behind the College Gender Gap

Abstract

"This study explores the basis of the gender gap in postsecondary enrollment through qualitative interviews with 99 high school seniors who are making decisions about college. While individual differences occurred, female high school seniors were far more apt to have well-developed plans to attend college based on their views that education is a vital educational investment, that the occupations they seek require a college education, and that they want to make a difference to society. Male high school students evidenced two different mindsets. Those from families whose parents had graduated from college saw higher education just as the expected path. Those from working class families had little knowledge of the labor market, the likelihood of obtaining "dream jobs," and the income they would need to live comfortable adult lives. Far more young men disliked schooling. Both sexes have developed a stereotype of males as "lazy," a label which covers a host of problems reducing college enrollment."

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