Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Paulsen, Michael B.

First Committee Member

An, Brian P.

Second Committee Member

Coohey, Carol A.

Third Committee Member

Liddell, Debora L.

Fourth Committee Member

Pascarella, Ernest T.


This study considered whether participation in several out-of-class experiences during high school influenced the odds that a student will aspire to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, this study considered whether these experiences, considered together, had a cumulative effect on the odds that a student will aspire to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree, and whether the influence of these high school experiences on college aspirations was moderated by a student’s race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Results of the study revealed that several high school experiences, including participation in science-related school programs, participation in extracurricular activities, sitting in on or taking a college class, searching the Internet or reading college guides for college options, and talking to a school counselor about going to college, increased the odds that a student would aspire to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, results revealed that participation in four or more of the high school experiences examined in this study had a cumulative, positive influence on students’ eleventh grade college aspirations, and that the relationship between participation in these high school experiences and students’ aspirations to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree was not moderated by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status.


college aspirations, college choice, high school experiences


ix, 139 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 98-119).


Copyright © 2016 Teniell Leigh Trolian