Student’s social networks fall into three types: tight knitters, compartmentalizes and samplers.
Tight Knitters: all friends tend to know each other, and together form strong social support.
- In cases with high social capital / academic ambition, this lead to greater learning and more success.
- In cases with low social capital, it was distracting, and had the opposite effect.
- Behavior in group was contagious, for good or bad.
Compartmentalizes: students with two to four separate networks of friends.
- Often used different networks for different purposes, eg. Friends to go out with, others for sports, and a third for academics.
- The more different groups, the more effort to maintain them all.
- More groups also caused stress on identity
- Also acts as diverse set of support systems.
- Success followed from high capital in the given cluster
Sampler: not part of any group, but individual friends from many places, unconnected.
- Gives little social support, either for good or ill; remain isolated.
- Creates independent types, dependent on themselves for success
- Question is if more success with either of other style
- Support often comes from other sources, such as family.
- Lack breadth and depth of closer knitters and adequate from compartmentalizes.
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“Sometimes it’s a good thing to be like your friends, and sometimes it isn’t…. If they’re getting all As, of course I want to be like them,” said Valerie, an 18-year-old college student during her first year at “MU,” a large, public, four-year university in the Midwestern United States.