Student experiences in college readiness programs: A phenomenological study

Marisa Elva Pierce, University of Texas at El Paso


This study discusses the concept of college readiness initiatives and defines what educational systems expect from this level of readiness of a high school student. It demonstrates that the topic of college readiness is broad and particularly concerned with academic rigor, teacher preparedness, and administrative support systems. The purpose of this study is to examine an aspect of these initiatives that is not often addressed – how students experience these programs. Attempts to research the topic of college readiness from the lens of the student yielded few studies on the issue. Consequently, seeking a grounded understanding of the meaning and importance of college readiness to a high school student, I focus on the student experience, founded by their understanding of college readiness, through their pathway to college. This focus afforded the opportunity to achieve a deeper understanding of what college readiness means to students; how students experience college readiness; and the impact college readiness initiatives have on their academic lives. A phenomenological approach was employed to study the human experience as seen from their point of view, as a person lives these experiences and to describe with precision and remain loyal to the facts of this research. This study is of importance and needed to assess and improve the overall approaches we utilize as educators in the realm of college readiness. In doing this, educators would be able to better prepare students in taking a comprehensive approach of learning to be college-ready. The results of this study yielded the identification of three essential themes as emerged from the lived experiences of each student: constructing college knowledge through high school experiences, building social capital through networks, and preparing to transition to college. The analysis of these results allowed for the researcher to share further recommendations on how to continue to make an impact on the lives of these high school students and their post-secondary endeavors.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|School counseling|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Pierce, Marisa Elva, "Student experiences in college readiness programs: A phenomenological study" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3708558.