Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Destiny of Circumstance: Factors That Motivate Low-SES, First-Generation in College High School Students to Matriculate Directly to University
by Sweetland, Jane, Ed.D., California Lutheran University, 2010, 116; 3621621
Abstract (Summary)

College-going rates closely replicate the socioeconomics of a region, making a student's zip code a better predictor of college attendance than his or her SAT or ACT score. Students who are the first in their family to go to college often do not have the cultural capital to inform or family stories to inspire. In California, less than one half of the students who graduate from high school are academically ready for college; low socio-economic-status (SES) students are financially challenged; and first-generation in college student may find themselves facing invisible social and cultural barriers.

The purpose of this study is to learn from a group of low-SES students, who were first in their families to go to a four-year college, what motivated them to take this less-traveled path. This qualitative study is based on interviews with students who graduated from high schools with a high percentage of under-represented minority populations and low-college going rates. Their perceptions about their educational experience, their teachers' and family's expectations, and the factors that motivated them to take a different path from the majority of their peers were categorized into a framework that divided motivators between intrinsic and extrinsic. The themes that emerged provide information about how students perceive opportunities and lead to future studies and recommendations for the strategic application of interventions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Valadez, James R.
Commitee: Jew, Cynthia L., McCambridge, Thomas R.
School: California Lutheran University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: Access to education, First generation college students, Low income groups, Minority groups, Motivation, Social capital
Publication Number: 3621621
ISBN: 978-1-303-92829-1
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