The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the college-related self-efficacy of 12th Grade English learners enrolled in a public charter school in Southern California. College-related self-efficacy is defined as a student's belief that they can attend college. This qualitative exploratory study was designed to explore the beliefs and attitudes that current English language learners (ELL) have regarding the possibility of attending college. A cross sectional data collection approach was utilized to explore college-related self-efficacy during English Learner's senior year. The senior class studied was the first to experience a high-school pathway designed to culminate in English language learners having both the academic skills and having completed the coursework to make them college-ready and competitive during the admissions process. The findings of this study support the following conclusions. Explicit adult investment in ELL success impacts how students describe their college-related self-efficacy. Language acquisition impacts the ability to communicate both academic and social-emotional growth. According to ELL students, personal efficacy and college-related self-efficacy share descriptive traits. Students perceive their college-related self-efficacy as a choice impacted by both external and internal input. As default experts for ELLs, teachers are in a position to impact college-related self-efficacy. College-related self-efficacy is impacted by factors outside the school campus and outside the school-day. English learners need additional time outside of their senior year to understand college applications and the college experience. Students view additional opportunities to practice language as a key component of social immersion and acculturation. Explicit attention to belief in ELL student potential is an avenue of improving college-related self-efficacy.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Foreign speakers; Charter schools -- California; Self-efficacy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;