A qualitative case study assessing student transition from McKinney High School to college.
State standardized testing continues to be the focus of the curriculum for both teachers and students in public education. High school teachers have the challenging task of ensuring that students develop critical academic skills before graduation. Upon completing high school, many students will pursue a college degree. When considering education beyond high school, it is imperative that every student who graduates from high school has developed the appropriate skills necessary to meet college expectations. This research study used Weidman’s Model of Undergraduate Socialization to identify how high school experiences shape students’ backgrounds and perceptions as well as Schlossberg’s Transition theory to explore students’ experiences with the college transition process. Although the transition to college is an anticipated transition (Schlossberg, 1981), it is difficult to comprehend how one will deal with the change until one has experienced it for themselves. This qualitative multiple case study researched former McKinney High School students’ perceptions of college readiness. Two tools of measurement, a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, were used to gather data. The questionnaire had 13 respondents, and then five participants were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. From the data collected, several themes emerged regarding college readiness. The first theme identified the positive impact AP, AVID, and dual credit classes played in the transition to college. The second theme advocated for developing transferable academic skills necessary for college transition, such as writing, time management, and effective study habits. The final theme documented the difference between high school and college and discussed how those differences impacted students' college transition. These findings provide evidence on the value of teacher mentorship on college readiness. The findings also revealed the degree to which students rely on high school and teachers to provide them the tools necessary to achieve college success. The empirical literature supports recommendations for providing students with essential academic skills and enforcing higher levels of academic rigor in high school.