Rural education: exploring how culture within rural high schools creates a pathway to college
Non-rural students are repeatedly outpacing rural students in postsecondary enrollment rates. Lower enrollment and college completion rates among rural populations can often be problematic for many communities whose economies depend upon an educated workforce to increase the demand for economic growth. One of the problems of low college enrollment and completion rates can be shaped by early environments created by social context at home and in school. The research employed qualitative research to inductively explore how one rural high school cultivates environments of college-going culture to prepare rural high school students to pursue higher education upon graduation. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the environmental factors in rural high schools that have a significant role in creating college-going cultures. The intended research utilized a basic qualitative approach to gain an understanding of the successes and identify potential concerns administrators may have in creating social environments in rural high schools that improve college-going cultures. The analysis focused on administrators’ experiences of how they fostered these environments to establish a college-going culture for rural high school students. The findings of this research will inform administrators and policymakers on ways to better serve rural high school students when encouraging an increase in college going rates among rural high school students.