Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Jennifer Putnam


Current frameworks of college readiness fail to address the impact of college readiness on the postsecondary educational experiences of traditionally underserved students such as low socioeconomic and first generation. The purpose of this study was to utilize the interpretative phenomenological analysis approach to investigate the first-year postsecondary educational experiences and understandings of the graduates of an early college high school in western North Carolina. The phenomenon studied was the use of early college high school experiences in a first-year college or university setting. The researcher employed the use of individual interviews to explore the transfer of college readiness instruction into participants’ first year of postsecondary education experiences. Examination of the scripted qualitative data collected from interviews revealed four major themes of college readiness: exploring identity, academics, student mindset, and networking. The researcher recommendations addressing the uniqueness of the early college graduate involved organizational goal setting to increase early college high school’s control over their academic culture. Additionally, a longer-term consideration of each student’s educational pathway is recommended (through the end of their first postsecondary year, at least) when making organizational choices that impact student academics. To increase control over the academic culture would be to directly address student mindsets in all aspects of the academic day. For the early college, the themes communicated a need to intentionally address the nontraditional status of students and align their college readiness efforts, classroom instruction, and organizational decision-making with the sociocultural barriers in mind for both students and their families.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.