Department of Educational Administration


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor James Griesen. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Neel A. Brown


While the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States is outpacing other ethnicities, college enrollment and graduation rates of Hispanic students continue to lag behind other groups. This longitudinal, qualitative case study explored when, how, and why a sample of Hispanic high school seniors at a large high school in North Central Texas made decisions regarding their postsecondary educational and career choices.

The foundation of this research relied on a series of 39 individual interviews with 13 Hispanic high school students over the course of their 2012 senior year. Analysis of the data uncovered themes regarding family influence, institutional influence, vague college knowledge, and the evolution of the students’ postsecondary decisions. The students spoke in-depth about the factors that influenced their dreams, goals, and decisions.

The study provides recommendations to K-16 school administrators, policymakers, teachers, parents, students, and other researchers. Included are recommendations for further research.

Adviser: James Griesen