Sociologist Robert Crosnoe has written a book called Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education. The book looks at kids who don’t fit in in high school and the effect that has on their later success. His research found that kids who feel they don’t fit in are less likely to go to college.
I heard Crosnoe on a local radio show recently (look for the podcast here). The whole interview is interesting, but what struck me in particular was that Crosnoe, who got his information through interviews and written surveys, said, “A small but significant minority of kids who really feel like they don’t fit in have lots of friends and are actually engaged in lots of social activities.”
He goes on to say that their perception is more salient than reality in this matter, and that kids who feel like outsiders or harassed, even if they’re not, have the same outcomes.
Wow…don’t you wish you could give kids magical glasses that could show them reality?