Thesis

Shaping Latino/a graduate school aspirations and expectations during undergraduate education: an analysis of sense of belonging and faculty mattering

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2015.

Due to the severe lack of representation of Latino/a students in graduate programs, this study collected data from 190 undergraduate students at a 4-year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Informed by the basic principles of Symbolic Interaction, this study analyzed how sense of belonging and mattering to faculty can influence graduate school aspirations and expectations. Using a regression model controlling for gender, father’s and mother’s education, family income, and GPA, eight hypotheses were tested. Results revealed that Latino/a students had higher graduate school aspirations in comparison to other students. Higher sense of belonging was associated with stronger aspirations for graduate school for Latino/a students, but not for non-Latino/a students. Further, the study showed that higher faculty mattering increased graduate school aspirations for non-Latino/a students, while it did not have a statistically significant impact on Latino/a students’ aspirations. Moreover, this study found that no significant variables predicted graduate school expectations. Future studies could benefit from analyzing faculty-student interactions and reevaluating constructs measuring for expectations.

Due to the severe lack of representation of Latino/a students in graduate programs, this study collected data from 190 undergraduate students at a 4-year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Informed by the basic principles of Symbolic Interaction, this study analyzed how sense of belonging and mattering to faculty can influence graduate school aspirations and expectations. Using a regression model controlling for gender, father’s and mother’s education, family income, and GPA, eight hypotheses were tested. Results revealed that Latino/a students had higher graduate school aspirations in comparison to other students. Higher sense of belonging was associated with stronger aspirations for graduate school for Latino/a students, but not for non-Latino/a students. Further, the study showed that higher faculty mattering increased graduate school aspirations for non-Latino/a students, while it did not have a statistically significant impact on Latino/a students’ aspirations. Moreover, this study found that no significant variables predicted graduate school expectations. Future studies could benefit from analyzing faculty-student interactions and reevaluating constructs measuring for expectations.

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