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Examining the role of social and cultural capital in Latino parents access of a college-going culture
Silva Diaz, Liliana
186 pages : illustrations
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine how social and cultural capital influenced Latino parents in guiding their children in the quest of higher education. This study viewed social and cultural capital in relation to school characteristics and school counselor support, which facilitated or impeded parents' capital. A secondary focus was to examine the differences between parents of first-generation college-going and non-first generation college going students. The research question driving the study was: What role does social and cultural capital play in accessing a college-going culture that leads to the explicit and implicit college admission processes for Latino parents? The study used a sequential transformative mixed method approach. The first phase involved selecting 137 Latino parents across three high schools in the southern region of San Diego County. The second phase involved selecting and interviewing 13 parents, their high school children, and two school counselor focus groups. The findings indicate that when Latino parents were provided with opportunities for engagement and given the necessary tools and information regarding the college process, they were able to capitalize on those opportunities to significantly impact their knowledge and ability to guide their children towards college readiness. The quantitative data revealed that parents in the study held moderate levels of social capital, yet they demonstrated multiple indicators of formal and informal engagement in the home and school in effort to gain the knowledge and skills to aid their children. Parents held high expectations and pushed their children towards rigorous coursework. Students internalized their parents' expectations and had hopes of attending a university. Parents had the strongest influence over the students' academic goals, followed by school counselors. School counselors were instrumental in developing parents' social capital and providing students with a college-going culture, particularly when working within a comprehensive school counseling model. Parents particularly benefitted from the collaboration; in turn they became equipped with the knowledge and skills to help their children navigate the college admissions process. Educators may need to rethink the definition of first-generation college-going student to understand their unique needs in the college admissions process.
San Diego State University
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, 2015
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