Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding the educational and familial context of the successful college choice process for urban high school students
by Smith, Sonya K., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2014, 318; 3647118
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative case study utilized Swail's Integrated Model of Student Success to discover how the structures, practices, and discourses at an urban charter high school affected the college aspirations and decisions of students of color from low-income households who matriculated to four-year institutions immediately after high school. This discovery took place by exploring the influence of educational and familial resources and support on students' college choice process and how students experienced and used these resources and support to successfully navigate the transition to college. Data for this study included pre- and post-matriculation interviews with eight low-income students of color who graduated from an urban charter high school after four years of attendance and immediately enrolled in a four-year institution. Data also included interview transcripts from students' parents, six of their teachers, and their counselor and principal.

Findings from this study revealed that, for the most part, educational and familial resources and support were complementary and facilitated students' progression through the college choice continuum. The school's college-going culture reinforced students' predispositions toward postsecondary education. High quality instruction in rigorous college-preparatory classes and caring, supportive relationships with teachers and other school personnel helped students remain on track for four-year admissions. Students who were on track for four-year admissions were provided more extensive college planning resources that facilitated their college searches and choices. Parents encouraged their children to pursue postsecondary education at four-year institutions because of the financial benefits. The majority of parents were not high school graduates, but all were willing to provide whatever financial and emotional support they could to ensure that their children fulfilled their educational goals. These findings suggest the need for a national policy mandating a college preparatory curriculum for all students and for schools to provide college planning resources that complement those provided in the home so all students have an equal opportunity to reap the benefits of a four-year postsecondary education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Locks, Angela M.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Secondary education, Higher education
Keywords: Charter schools, College choice, College planning, Urban school districts
Publication Number: 3647118
ISBN: 9781321369359
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