Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

David Weintraub

Abstract

Lack of college readiness, which affects persistence in college, is a problem for many students at a high school in New Jersey. Only 1 in 5 students in this school persist from first to second year in New Jersey public colleges and universities, and as many as 50% do not graduate in 4 years. This problem is important to study because low persistence may engender personal failure, familial debt, social stigma, and wasted public funds. Guided by Bandura's social learning theory, this qualitative case study addressed the lack of college readiness by exploring what high school students know about going to college. Eight high school seniors who were interested in attending a 4-year college were purposefully selected to be interviewed about their knowledge of college-readiness skills and where they obtained information about the college experience. The data were analyzed with open coding to determine common themes. Participants reported that (a) personal responsibility was a key to being college-ready; (b) they experienced stress associated with the unknown; and (c) they wanted better knowledge about time-management skills, organization, and where to obtain pertinent information. A project was designed that gives high school seniors access to this information as well as virtual practice to make the transition to college less stressful. A greater level of college readiness may contribute to social change because more students may graduate. Successful college graduates may have a better opportunity to attain suitable employment and to contribute to the community.