Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

College Application Behaviors: Factors Impacting the College Choices of High School Seniors
by Mai, Jenifer, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 152; 10285097
Abstract (Summary)

College application behaviors among students who are similarly prepared vary by socioeconomic status. Recent research suggests that undermatching is a growing trend, especially among low-income students. Undermatching has detrimental consequences for students who possess the potential to succeed at a selective college, but fail to apply, leading to reduced student success and poor economic outcomes. While literature about factors that affect a student’s decision to attend college is abundant, a focus on the selection of college is still limited. A literature review examined how college choice changed over time, and how future trends in students’ college application behaviors might develop.

This quantitative study used a cross-sectional survey design. Demographic variables were collected along with the results from the Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ-IV). A paper-and-pencil survey was used to collect data about participants’ race, gender, academic achievement, socioeconomic status, identity orientation, and college choices. In this study, college choice was measured by college selectivity scores, which are annually assigned by the U.S. News & World Report. Surveys were administered to 341 twelfth grade students in a California public high school.

Results revealed that both race and academic achievement are significant predictors (R2 = .422) of college selectivity. Inferential analysis reported that Asian participants (M = 2.75) had a higher mean college selectivity score than Filipino ( M = 1.91) and Latino/a (M = 1.99) participants. These findings suggest that Filipino students require support systems that may be different from those available to Asian students.

The findings also suggest that academic achievement is associated with participants’ college choices. Participants who reported high academic achievement levels had higher college selectivity scores, regardless of socioeconomic status, concluding that undermatching was not found for low-income participants at this research site. This is noteworthy because it is different from what literature reports is a negative outcome among low-income students. This suggests there may be external factors that can have a positive impact on college choices in order to overcome the typical effects of social class on college attainment. Future research can investigate policies and practices at high college-matching schools to explain how to improve college application behaviors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Charles
Commitee: Buss, Rhonda, Olson, Avery
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Higher education
Keywords: College application, College choice, College matching, College selectivity, College undermatching, High school counseling
Publication Number: 10285097
ISBN: 978-1-369-86202-7
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