Factors Preventing Male, African-American, High School Students from Attending Four Year Universities

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Wilkins, Chandler
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.

Community and Regional Planning

This research focuses on the factors that influence male, African-American, high school students’ decision to continue their education at a four-year university. Although several factors can impact the decision to attend college, this study focuses on the roles of societal factors and individual attributes. Societal factors include influences that are outside the control of individual students, ranging from the amount of resources offered by the high school to the availability of family financial support for college. Individual attributes refers to factors that encourage students to not attend college, but pursue other options such as joining the military service, or opting to work. A survey was sent out to African-American male students at Olympic High School in Charlotte, North Carolina to determine which factor played a larger role. My research showed that societal factors played a larger role in the male’s decisions to attend or not attend a four year university.