Trajectories through postsecondary education and students' life course transitions. By: Denice, Patrick. Social Science Research. May2019, Vol. 80, p243-260. 18p.

Today’s college students travel increasingly heterogeneous pathways through their postsecondary education by delaying the transition from high school to college, attending part-time, and enrolling in multiple institutions. Variation in how students move through college is important to concerns about stratification since non-normative pathways are disproportionately distributed among student subgroups and can have negative consequences for degree attainment and other later-in-life outcomes. In this article, I capitalize on detailed postsecondary transcript data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to infer group-based developmental trajectories of students’ college credit completion over the first ten years since leaving high school. These trajectories offer a more comprehensive understanding of students’ long-term pathways of college credit completion in life course perspective, the role played by students’ socioeconomic and prior academic backgrounds in allocating them to those pathways, and how transitions to other adult social roles (spouse, parent, and worker) differentially shape those pathways.