Alexandria Walton Radford

Program Director, Transition to College


  • PhD, Sociology, Princeton University
  • MA, Sociology, Princeton University
  • BS, Foreign Service, Georgetown University (graduated cum laude and with honors)

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Alexandria Walton Radford, PhD, is a leading expert in sociological issues surrounding postsecondary education and students' transition to college. Her newest book, Top Student, Top School? How Social Class Shapes Where Valedictorians Go to College, challenges the assumption that high achievement in high school automatically translates into students' attending postsecondary institutions that match their academic ability.

Her previous work, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admissions and Campus Life, won the American Sociological Association's 2011 Pierre Bourdieu Award for the Best Book in the sociology of education. It examined how race and class shape the postsecondary experience at each stage—from application and admission to enrollment and student life on campus.

Her other publications, which draw on years of research for the US Department of Education and other clients, have examined college counseling, college choice, college coursework, online education, remedial education, military students, education tax benefits, persistence and attainment, and subbaccalaureate students' labor market outcomes.