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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2016013308
pages 259-280

A QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF RURAL CENTRAL APPALACHIAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT KNOWLEDGE OF THE COLLEGE PROCESSES NEEDED TO MEET CAREER GOALS

Cheryl Carrico
Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Holly M. Matusovich
Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, 345 Signature Engineering Building, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061, USA

SINOPSIS

College preparedness of high school students is often measured as a student's academic readiness for college. However, college readiness can also be viewed as a student's understanding of the process of "getting to" an appropriate college. This study defined college process preparedness (CPP) as a student's understanding of the process of choosing, applying to, and entering a college capable of providing the education required for that student's career goals. CPP is particularly important within rural Central Appalachia (RCA) where the post-secondary education attainment is below, and poverty rates are above, the national averages and there are fewer white-collar jobs. In addition, CPP is particularly important to science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare (STEM-H) fields that often require post-secondary education. To examine CPP in RCA, this study used qualitative interviews with 24 high school students to answer the research question: What factors emerge as important for rural Central Appalachian high school students' college process preparedness? Using Social Cognitive Career Theory as a lens to guide our research found seven categories that contribute to student CPP that are consistent with, yet extend, current literature. The relevance of parental work experience and education appear to mediate the emerged CPP categories. Additionally, specific outreach from colleges to high schools was an important influence in student CPP. Finally, the results identified patterns between student levels of CPP and RCA characteristics, of being a continuing generation Appalachian, being a prospective first generation college student, wanting to remain local, and the importance of job income and stability.


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