Arnold runs BP's longitudinal study, tracking graduates long after they depart from Big Picture schools like the MET in Providence, RI. She finds lots of kids reconsidering whether to go on to post-secondary ed during that long summer break.
They struggle to put together money for the first year of college and to envision what it will be like to attend. Personal and family unfamiliarity about college interferes with a smooth transition to higher education. Conditions associated with socioeconomic disadvantage, such as family instability, pregnancy, undocumented immigrant status, and pressure to remain home with non-college friends and romantic partners also arise over the summer to shatter the fragile correspondence between knowledge, support, and will. In many cases, first-generation students serve as a source of income for the family or as interpreters for non-English speaking parents.Arnold calls for more college support programs to carry students through and across the college threshold.