Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Cecilia Orphan

Second Advisor

Christine Nelson

Third Advisor

Andrew Koricich

Fourth Advisor

Julie Anne Laser


Career preparation, College choice, College preparation, Critical rural theory, Funds of knowledge, Rural education


College choice models have been used since the 1980s to try and explain the processes and influences high school students use to decide if and which college to attend after graduation. These models focused solely on college attendance and lacked attention to the nuanced needs and resources found in rural communities. In this three-paper dissertation, a new, rural-centric model is proposed, tested, critiqued, and revised. The first paper proposes a new conceptual model of Rural Post-Graduation Plan Development using a critique and synthesis of prior college choice models, Critical Rural Theory, Funds of Knowledge, and socio-ecological models. The second paper utilizes the HSLS:09 in order to explore the relationship between race and rurality on a national scale. The third paper is a case study of eleven former rural high school students in Colorado, exploring their post-graduation plan development process by testing the new conceptual model. The dissertation concludes with a summary of the papers as well as a proposed update to the Rural Post-Graduation Plan Development Model using the data and findings from the two empirical studies.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Steve Jenks


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


464 pgs

File Size

6.5 MB


Higher education, Education policy, Educational sociology