Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kent Seidel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Roger Salters

Third Advisor

Joanne Ihrig

Fourth Advisor

Elinor Katz


College, College access survey, Colorado, Matriculation, Rural students, Student voices


Exploring the views of rural high school students about college has significant implications for the question: "Why are Colorado's kids not choosing college in greater numbers?" Since the State of Colorado has one of the most highly educated adult populations in the nation, yet consistently underperforms in sending its high school students to college this dissertation is topical in presenting the opinions and perceptions of 1,012 rural high school students.

By including the voices of rural Colorado students through a survey, by investigating what the students are thinking and feeling about their future, and by learning what their level of awareness is regarding options and choices, this study contributes to a wider body of knowledge about how rural high school students access the information that makes college choice possible. The survey which is at the heart of this dissertation was designed to examine the students' possession of college-going assets, such as knowledge about standardized tests, access to college materials, articulation of options, expectations, and awareness of college costs and financing.

One of the major findings in the Exploring Rural Views study was the difference between students who had been continuously exposed to college counseling and those who had not. There are statistically significant differences in the group's identification of their assets. The survey results pointed out that these two groups act differently; the college counseled group had more agreement, and more assets.

Other findings included: information about college is not reaching everyone who needs to be reached--approximately 11,000 kids on the Western Slope alone are identified as the "paradox group," and more needs to be done to understand why these kids do not go to college, to capture their voices and better measure their understanding of the college attainment process.

College fairs, college representative visits, the internet, virtual tours, college view books, college visits, parent and teacher expectations as well as information distribution are all necessary components of the college access continuum. These necessary components are not enough unless they are in concert as an established part of a college access culture.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Kathleen McMahon Klug


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

142 p.


School counseling