Unseen students: Exploring rural young adults’ college and career decision-making experiences through action research approaches
Keywords:Rural students, College access, Social capital, Action research, Participatory action research
Rural young adults’ college decision-making experiences are impacted by challenges such as financial barriers, limited academic opportunities, and sources of social capital. This participatory action research project highlights the experiences of five rural young adults and their peers in the Midwestern United States. Our research team collected information through narrative reflections, surveys, and interviews. Findings suggest students wanted to attend college to advance their future careers, struggled when applying for financial aid, and relied on their parents for assistance. The challenges rural students face while making college and career plans are reduced when these students have a support network consisting of their parents, high school guidance counselors and teachers, and college admissions counselors. As such, our research group developed specific action items aimed at strengthen rural young adults’ pathways to college.
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