Advancing College-Going Culture

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Why do we need to affect the “culture” of the school?

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Although many programs have been developed to help particular students make their way to college, most are aimed toward changes in those students rather than changes in the school.

To ensure that all students are receiving the message that they can have choices and options for their future, we need to focus on the entire school’s values and beliefs about their students. This is not something that just a counselor…or a principal …or a teacher …can do, this message needs to come from everyone associated with the school, including its families and surrounding community. This challenge is tied closely to the issues discussed in, "How do attitudes of teachers and counselors affect college-going?"

Learn more about the theory of College-Going Culture by reading some of the Resources below.


Creating a K-16 Environment: Reflections on the Process of Establishing a College Culture in Secondary Schools

McClafferty and McDonough, UCLA, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; 2000

This article provides a description and analysis of the accomplishments and challenges of building a college-going culture in Los Angeles elementary and middle schools. It also demonstrates examples of ways in which research institutions work with local schools to bring about cultural change. CG9_K16_Reflections_McCMcD.pdf (165.05KB)

What is a College Culture? Facilitating College Preparation Through Organizational Change

McClafferty, McDonough, Nunez; UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 2002

Drawing from the research literature and lessons learned from more than four years of work between UCLA and a cluster of urban K-12 schools, the authors outline a set of conditions that are consistent with the creation of a college culture, provide examples from middle and high schools, and reflect on the process of cultural change. College_Culture__Organizational_Change_MCDonough_AERA_2005.doc (124.93KB)

Helping students navigate the path to college: What high schools can do: A practice guide

Tierney, W. G., Bailey, T., Constantine, J., Finkelstein, N., & Hurd, N. F. (2009)

This guide targets high schools and school districts and focuses on effective practices that prepare students academically for college, assist them in completing the steps to college entry, and improve their likelihood of enrolling in college. HelpingStudentsNavigatePath.pdf (2063.2KB)


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Last modified on 2/22/2010

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