Cream Of The Crop: The Impact Of Elite Education In The Decade After College

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9780465043439: Cream Of The Crop: The Impact Of Elite Education In The Decade After College

How do the college you attend and the choices you make in college shape your life? Is an elite education worth the investment? This book, based on a major longitudinal study, is the first to examine these vital issues systematically.
In Cream of the Crop, we meet members of the Stanford University class of 1981 ten years after graduation. Their stories show how the rising professional elite has dealt with such issues as reconciling career and family, defining success, and finding satisfaction in work. Their lives tell us worlds about how our brightest young adults are shaping careers, family life, leisure activities, and plans for the future. And their experiences demonstrate how decisions made in college affect career and family choices.
Herant Katchadourian and John Boli began studying these men and women as undergraduates, classifying them into four categories: Careerists, Intellectuals, Strivers, and Unconnected. Ten years later, they found remarkable consistency among the members of each group, and reached some exciting conclusions about how the former students had shaped their lives. They discovered that while the educational elite does make more money than the general population, in theory these people value intellectual challenge, creativity, and independence in a job more than money, power, and prestige. The authors found that students classified as Intellectuals in college spent the least time in graduate school. And they determined that, although the women generally earned 27 percent less than the men, they had higher household incomes - and greater earning parity with their spouses. The authors conclude that the approach students took - single-mindedly pursuing a career goal or sampling a wide range of courses - reverberated throughout their later professional and personal lives.

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About the Author:

Herant Katchadourian, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences, and Human Biology at Stanford University.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Pedestrian profiles dominate this sociological study of a cohort of Stanford graduates' first ten years in the real world. Katchadourian (Psychiatry/Stanford Univ.) and Boli (Sociology/Emory Univ.) here follow up on their previous work, Careerism and Intellectualism Among College Students (not reviewed). In that study, the authors used two tests to sort Stanford students into four groups. Careerists scored high for ambition, but not for curiosity; Intellectuals the reverse; Strivers topped both tests; those with low scores on both were termed Unconnected. This sequel examines the professional lives, as well as personal and spiritual states, of these young men and women in the decade after graduation. As one might expect, the subjects have proven quite successful; even those few not in business or the professions seem to have found vocations. In typical pop sociology fashion, the authors introduce us to many study participants. Most are so focused on climbing career ladders that their reflections on their lives have little interest. Discussions of romance, families, and the life of the mind inevitably return to work issues. Of the less intellectual survey members, only a handful evidence the impact of their education in the form of the continuing influence of a Stanford faculty member. Problems appear with the authors' initial typology. The Unconnected turn out to be among the most accomplished, with the greatest number of publications and even awards (50% of Unconnected women had won awards versus 38% of male Intellectuals). The study ends in 1991, which leaves one wondering how different types have weathered the recent recession. In any case, to truly give a sense of the value of an elite education, the authors might have done well to compare their subjects more directly to graduates of less prestigious schools. In the absence of a broader context, this look at the lifestyles of the well-educated and anonymous raises more questions than it answers. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Herant Katchadourian, John Boli
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