Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lara Deeb

Reader 2

Gabriela Morales

Rights Information

2021 Angelica Meneses Olvera


Boarding school students’ perception and construction of their identities are heavily impacted by their peers and their environment through their socialization on campus. My research found that boarding schools perpetuate power structures that exclude students from historically disadvantaged communities through their disproportionately higher enrollment of white and upper-class students. Through interviews with a total of 21 BIPOC and low-income alumni of these schools, I found that historically marginalized students from these communities feel a heightened sense of awareness of their backgrounds. These students construct their identities and friendships based on this awareness, and their high school experiences directly influence and shape their identities and friendships well past their graduation from boarding school. For those who do not feel supported by or part of their school’s community, boarding school can be a very difficult experience. When students form positive connections on campus, they are better able to have positive experiences and growth. Furthermore, all BIPOC and low-income students who graduate from elite boarding schools gain at least partial access to elite circles that can provide new academic and professional opportunities. As opposed to some of their wealthier or white peers, BIPOC and students from low-income backgrounds are first granted access to these elite circles in high school which allows them to disrupt social reproduction cycles. As students move through and beyond these elite, predominantly white institutions, they internalize their social positions and begin to construct and cement their identities.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.