Why Do Top 10% South Texas Latino High School Seniors Choose to Forego Automatic Admission to Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin?
This study examines the influential factors that contribute to pathway decisions of high achieving Latino students from South Texas. The theoretical frameworks of Hossler & Gallagher (1987) and Yosso (2005) are utilized as foundational pieces to denote various factors and networks of "capital" which impact the decision making process of students, specifically Latino students. Although many studies observe the challenges and obstacles of ethnic minority students--this study asks why certain high achieving Latino students from economically disadvantaged South Texas high schools decided to forego their automatic admission to Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin, Tier One public research institutions. Using a qualitative case-study approach, eight primary participants were interviewed to understand and learn which factors influenced their decision on their post-secondary pathway. This study found that various factors impacted the decision making process of students deciding on their post-secondary pathway including socio-economic status, parental educational background, social/cultural/navigational capital, distance, familial/peer support, and college/career counseling. It also found that school districts, especially those identified as economically disadvantaged and serving traditionally under-served and under-represented populations, should do a better job of providing college/career counseling for its students beginning as early as middle school.