Cultural fit is often neglected in (quantitative) research in (higher) education. However, there is a need to reintegrate questions of cultural fit – especially when the diversity of the student body increases and hopes for increasing equity of education remain unfulfilled, still. In this article, I propose a concept of cultural fit, closely tied to the works of Bourdieu and social structure research. Additionally, I present some analyses on the effects of cultural fit on students’ motives of self-improvement, routes to university, and performance. Drawing on survey data of 1.073 undergraduate students at a German university, analyses confirm that the proposed concept of cultural fit can be used to distinguish between students who are culturally fit and misfits. Moreover, analyses show that cultural fit does have significant effects on the routes to university and performance. In this way, this article may help to unveil mechanisms of (cultural) closing of institutions of higher education that are invisible to research.
26 Jul 2021