The purpose of this study was to better understand the culture of an Upward Bound College Preparatory Program in the Midwest and how it interacted with the culture of 12th-grade UB participants. In particular, the study examined how UB and the cultures that 12th graders belonged influenced students' decisions, progression, and adult transitions. UB serves at-promise high school students who are highly susceptible to academic, career, financial, and psychological challenges during their 12th-grade progression and transition. Therefore, the researcher conducted an ethnographic study that included observations, documents, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups with (N = 70) participants in the Midwest. Participants included (n = 14) active 12th-grade UB primary participants, (n = 7) non-active 12th grade UB secondary participants, and (n = 49) adult tertiary participants. During this juncture in their lives, 12th-grade UB participants typically have fewer supports, while facing challenges and social stratification associated with their cultural and demographic statuses. Findings illustrated that UB's 12th-grade culture disregarded developmentally appropriate curriculum, mentor support, and a balanced level of structured guidance. In turn, these cultural interactions also influenced 12th-grade UB participants' decisions to engage in school activities, participate in UB program activities, engage in college going behaviors, and choose a particular college. Gaining a better understanding of the 12th-grade culture in this UB program provides several insights on how to improve the program's services. Recommendations include more culturally relevant interventions, comprehensive school counseling programs, and the development of 12th-grade UB curriculums that address the holistic (i.e., academic, personal, socioemotional) needs of 12th-grade UB students.
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Butler, S. Kent
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dambo, Neffisatu, "An Ethnographic Study of the Culture of Twelfth Grade Upward Bound Students in the Midwest" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5072.