Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Shirley Johnson, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Sibert, Ed.D.


The primary motivation for this case study was to uncover the practices college access advisers use to affect students’ aspirations and matriculation into colleges and universities. The study also analyzed how these practices affected the overall culture of the school. This study further considered the interactions of college access advisers with their students in a school serving a predominately low-income student population. The effectiveness of the college access programs on the overall college going culture of the school was also examined. A mixed methods research approach was used to evaluate the components and best practices that the advisers used to generate low-income and first generation college bounds students’ matriculation into postsecondary school. Qualitative data collection consisted of individual semi-structured interviews with each of the five participants followed by observations of the advisers using the College Access Tool of Evaluation (CATE). Quantitative data was collected using a Teacher Survey that asked teachers to reflect on the college going culture of the school. Results from the qualitative data collection indicated that the fostering of trusting adviser/student relationships was one of the most important components and best practices that led to college matriculation. Findings indicated that advisers provided students with the opportunities for one-on-one counseling, strong social support, and a space to complete college going activities. In addition, the research identified the following six best practices: lifestyle discussion, academic support programming, college tours, one-on-one counseling, financial aid assistance, and social supports. Regarding the college going culture of the school, the teacher survey indicated there was a need for even more services from college access programs and more information for the school’s students and teachers. The study concludes that when given effective social supports and college going, opportunities low- income and first generation college bound students can matriculate into colleges and universities.