Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Raquel L. Farmer-Hinton

Second Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


High school is the time when final preparations are made prior to embarking on postsecondary opportunities—enrollment in two or four-year colleges/ universities or vocational training programs, enlistment in the military, or employment. These decisions become based on resources, information, and networks—forms of social capital. By conceptualizing within-school differences among the student population, the experiences of the haves and have nots are shared to highlight the impact of social capital disparities on the postsecondary decision-making process. Through qualitative research, the researcher analyzed data culled from interviews with both student and parent participants in a medium-sized Midwestern high school by examining postsecondary planning and advisement through a social capital framework. Findings from 27 student and 11 parent interviews reveal the complexities of dismantling barriers to school-based social capital for all students. Finally, these findings problematize staff failure to leverage support, agency, and empowerment for a heterogeneous population of students in suburban contexts replete with resources.


Copyright 2020