Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College Women's Success

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 0.9 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Laura T. Hamilton is associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is coauthor of Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality.


"Book of the week. . . . Nothing beats a piece of good empirical sociology, as the data suck you in and tell their own compelling story. Writing well in this style is an art form, and few people manage to pull it off. In Parenting to a Degree, Laura Hamilton does so beautifully. . . . Parenting beyond the age of 18 matters more than ever because how parents approach their children's undergraduate years shapes the life chances of young adults, and can set them on markedly different trajectories. But what this study also reveals is the extent to which universities depend, in part, on the availability of parental support and labour to ensure that students successfully complete their degrees. Hamilton ably demonstrates that we too often see degree success as based on individual merit when, in reality, it is driven by the nature of the partnerships between families and the universities, and that too often students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds find themselves struggling to make their way with the least help."
-- "Times Higher Education"
"By the end of the project, Hamilton had acquired a deep understanding of family dynamics and attitudes, and powerful insights into why some students succeed while others fail, and the part that parents play in shaping outcomes. . . . Her analysis is nuanced enough to avoid determinism. And there is real class diversity here. . . . Hamilton skillfully draws out the telling similarities and differences between the parents within each group. . . . Hamilton's book demonstrates the value of zooming in close in order to gain wider insight."
-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"[A] richly detailed analysis of the relationships between young college women and their parents to reveal how parenting matters for college outcomes....A unique strength of the book is its ability to illuminate how parents' social class and beliefs about gender shape their parenting practices....[T]his book will undoubtedly join the ranks of recent high-profile books raising important questions and provoking debates about the future and mission of American higher education. Hamilton's accessible and eloquent writing makes the book a pleasure to read. Beyond those in the academy, parents and students will gain valuable insights as they reflect on their own parenting approaches and college experiences."
-- "AAUP"
"Laura T. Hamilton's thought-provoking book Parenting to a Degree explores how some parents get way too involved in their children's college careers. . . . this book is a good read. It sheds light on the way we live now, at least for some people in the United States, and it connects the macrolevel of social stratification to the microlevel of the lives of individual people and the inner workings of family relations."--Naomi Gerstel, coauthor of Unequal Time "American Journal of Sociology"