The transition from high school to college in Texas: Hispanic students on the U.S.-Mexico border redefining college readiness

Hector Hernandez, University of Texas at El Paso


This study addresses the barriers and challenges that could potentially impede successful high school-to-college transitions for Hispanic high school students on the U.S.-México border from the perspective of Hispanic youth. U.S. demographical data indicates that the Hispanic population continues to grow at a rapid pace and accounts for the majority of the U.S. population growth in the last decade (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). Hispanics have been identified not only as the fastest growing ethnic group, but also as highly underrepresented in institutions of higher learning. While numerous perspectives and descriptions of this phenomenon have been advanced by scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from diverse arenas, this study builds on two of the primary research approaches that have shaped the discussion and research on college readiness for Hispanic youth over the last two decades. Qualitative research methods were utilized to highlight the voice of a group of Hispanic "rising high school seniors" in a U.S.-México border community. Through this study, students describe the barriers they have experienced as high school students and the perceived challenges they might experience as they prepare to transition to college, providing their interpretation of these barriers and challenges. ^ The study yielded a deeper understanding of this timely and important topic from the insiders' perspectives. Informants provided new insights regarding their understanding of socioeconomic status (SES), their support systems, readiness to pursue their educational dreams and the potential impact that they could have on their attempt to transition from high school to college. Finally, the role that cultural capital plays on college readiness, particularly Yosso's (2005) conceptual model, is further explored. Data collected in this study helps to generate new understandings about the lived realities of these students, yet further research is needed on this timely topic based on the lived experiences of Hispanic students.^

Subject Area

Education, Evaluation|Hispanic American Studies|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Hernandez, Hector, "The transition from high school to college in Texas: Hispanic students on the U.S.-Mexico border redefining college readiness" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1498297.