Despite the benefits of a college education and the resources allocated to college preparedness programs, Latino minorities, at 12.7% of college students, continue to be overwhelmingly underrepresented in institutions of higher educational (Zarate & Burciaga, 2010). The graduation gap between lower and higher income students as well as minority students is due in part to lack of academic preparation, underfunding and staffing, and affordability of resources and support (Tinto, 2008). There is a need to increase students attending universities. Individuals with an advanced degrees are more likely to enjoy a higher standard of living, donate time and or money to various organizations, and live healthier lifestyles. Moreover, graduates are also less likely to live in poverty, have children at a young age, and partake in illegal activities (Contreras, 2011). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify how sociocultural factors, peer affiliation, adult mentorship, and institutional barriers, affected the K-16 pathways of Latino individuals graduating from a STEM-based 6th-12th grade charter school. Results of this study show that home factors such as English language acquisition, level of education, and adult time spent with their children played a significant role in academic achievement. School-based factors, including: course offerings, strong mentorship, and choice of friends also significantly impacted student success and matriculation to college. Results of this study will inform high school leadership teams on how to target and reshape their academic and college preparedness programs to better fit the needs of their Latino students. By addressing specific sociocultural characteristics as well as institutional deficiencies, we hope to increase the percentage of Latino students entering in and persisting through college.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Hispanic Americans -- Education (Higher); Charter schools -- Evaluation; College preparation programs

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Collatos, Anthony;