Let's Give ‘em Something to Talk About: Spurring College Conversations Among Rural Students, Schools, and Families

Let's Give ‘em Something to Talk About: Spurring College Conversations Among Rural Students, Schools, and Families

Crystal R. Chambers (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2787-0.ch013

Abstract

Rural students are more likely to complete their high school diploma but less likely than urban or suburban students to enroll in college. This is in part due to exposure to college and social capital, particularly differential access to social networks including individuals with college degrees. Schools can play a role in bridging the social capital gap as school teachers and counselors are individuals with college degrees who live in and near rural communities. In this vein, teachers and counselors can inspire the college aspirations of rural students, a prerequisite for student engagement in college choice processes.
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Background

Rural students are less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to attend college, higher high school graduation rates notwithstanding (McDonough, Gildersleeve, & Jarsky, 2010; Morton, Ramirez, Meece, Demetriou, & Panter, 2018). Within the United States, 61% of rural high schoolers graduating in the class of 2016 pursued some form of postsecondary education (two- or four-year colleges, universities, vocational schools, etc. – collectively herein referred to as college). This compares to 67% of suburban students. When rural students do enroll in college, they are significantly less likely to enroll in highly selective institutions, socioeconomic status notwithstanding. This means that even higher income rural youth are less likely to attend highly selective public and private colleges than their urban and suburban counterparts (Koricich, Chen, & Hughes, 2018). It also means that impoverished rural youth are further disadvantaged in college access, beyond their counterparts both by poverty and locale (Byun, Irvin & Meece, 2015; Howley & Howley, 2010).

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