Chronicle of Higher Education
March 22nd, 2011
‘Social Capital’ and College Counseling: If college counseling for underrepresented students does not become a crucial part of education reform, then reform will not bear nearly enough fruit. So writes Omari Scott Simmons in a forthcoming article in the Notre Dame Law Review. Mr. Simmons, an associate professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Law, argues that policy makers must do more to account for “social-capital deficits” among low-income, minority, and first-generation students in public schools. Generally, “social capital” is a term used to describe the benefits one accumulates based on his or her relationships with other people.
“Vulnerable students overwhelmingly lack access to social networks that provide valuable information to navigate the complex college admissions and financial-aid processes,” writes Mr. Simmons, who is also director of the Simmons Memorial Foundation, a North Carolina nonprofit group that helps prepare under-privileged students for college. “Yet the nation’s public schools exacerbate the problem by not providing adequate college counseling support to their most needy students, particularly successful students who demonstrate college potential.”