Latinas' perceptions of college readiness and the resources that affected their first year college experience




Carielo, Cynthia L.

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Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, according to the U.S. Census (2010). While the Latino population continues to rise, disparities between Latinos and their White counterparts remains strong when it comes to high school graduation rates, college readiness rates and college success as measured through degree attainment. This qualitative study examines the experiences and relationships of Latina students who had attended and graduated from the same high school in order to identify the factors that contributed both positively and negatively to their college readiness. This study explored how the initial perceived level of college readiness changed over the course of the first postsecondary year. Moreover, this study sought to shed light on the resources that contributed to the success of the participants throughout their first year in college. The data was collected via three individual, semi-structured interviews with five Latinas over a span of a year. Stanton-Salazar's (1997) conceptual framework of social capital was used as a lens through which to analyze the resources that played a role in the participants' success. The analysis unveiled two themes when examining factors having an effect on perceived levels of college readiness: academic rigor and academic skills. When exploring changes in perceptions, two themes emerged: vertical misalignment and metacognitive learning. Finally, the themes of institutional agents, campus engagement, and family emerged when analyzing the data focused on the resources that helped or hindered the participants' success in enrolling in college and throughout their first year in college. Implications for policy and practice and recommendations for future research are presented.


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College readiness, Latinas, Texas



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies