Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nicholas Brake, Gary Houchens, Daniel Super

Degree Program

School of Teacher Education

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study examines the attitudes and perceptions of middle school students from low socioeconomic backgrounds about attending post-secondary institutions. As research continues to explore the experiences of traditional high school students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and students' attendance into post-secondary institutions, research concerning middle school students from low socioeconomic backgrounds preparedness for college attendance has been limited. Using a phenomenological research design to obtain the study's results from fifteen students and thirteen parent interviews provided insight into the “lived experience” of the students’ and parents' attitudes and perceptions regarding college attendance. The study found that regardless of the parents’ and students' "lived experience," participants believed attending college was still obtainable. It concludes by stating those barriers that have historically hindered college attendance for traditional high school students and first-generation college students are also causing the same restrictions for middle school students. The research suggests that much is still needed to promote college attendance for middle students and that educators and families must start much earlier than the ninth grade. The study also suggests middle school students need exposure to rigorous coursework and career education to direct a middle school student's career path.


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Elementary Education and Teaching | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching

Available for download on Saturday, September 07, 2024