Students' precollege preparation for participation in a diverse democracy Academic Article uri icon


  • This study focuses on how students' precollege experiences predisposed them to 3 democratic outcomes: (a) ability to see the world from someone else's perspective; (b) beliefs that conflict enhances democracy; and (c) views about the importance of engaging in social action activities. We analyzed data from 3 flagship universities as part of a nationally funded research project and found first-year females are more likely than males to report values and beliefs consistent with democratic outcomes. Participation in race/ethnic discussions, student clubs, and volunteer work, as well as studying with students of different groups and discussing controversial issues are significant predictors in each model. Results also indicate that students might be unprepared to negotiate conflict in a diverse democracy, suggesting that college engagement will play a key role in fostering the development of democratic citizenship. This study also provides new measures of democratic outcomes to assess the impact of diversity and service learning initiatives.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Hurtado, S., Engberg, M. E., Ponjuan, L., & Landreman, L.

citation count

  • 78

complete list of authors

  • Hurtado, S||Engberg, ME||Ponjuan, L||Landreman, L

publication date

  • April 2002