Factors that deter high school graduates from attending college

This study consisted of a secondary data analysis using a subset of questions from the six survey instruments in the national Monitoring the Future research study. Participants selected from the national study consisted of 7,687 high school seniors, age 18 years or older, with a 2011 expected graduation date. The purpose of this thesis was to explore and examine the various factors and barriers that prevent high school graduates from going to a four year college. This study also focused on what factors enhanced a student’s decision to go to a four a year college. The major findings discovered that students who have high self-esteem, a positive relationship with their academic counselor, are actively involved in school related extra-curricular activities, and enrolled in college preparatory courses during high school were more likely to attend a four year college. A review of the literature supports these findings. The implications of this study suggested a need for programs and policies to be implemented in high schools throughout the United States. Implications suggest college enrollment would increase with programs focused on encouraging students to join an extra-curricular activity and a policy requiring that all students take college preparatory courses during high school. Future studies could focus on exploring this topic more in depth to gain a deeper knowledge of ways to increase diversity among students who pursue a four year college degree after high school. Social workers can advocate for high school students of all races and ethnicities to have an equal and fair chance of going to a four year college by implementing a few of the identified programs in schools, beginning as early as the eighth grade.