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With Diploma in Hand: Hispanic High School Seniors Talk about their Future

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Focus groups with Hispanic high school students suggest that some may be derailed on the road to higher education by low expectations from teachers, poor understanding of the admissions processes, and little adult support.

This project began with an enigma. In surveys, the parents of Hispanic high school seniors place enormous emphasis on higher education. By significantly higher percentages than the rest of the population, the parents of Hispanic high school seniors believe that a college education is an essential prerequisite for a good job and a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But this desire for higher education does not translate into reality. Compared to non-Hispanic whites or African American students, Hispanic students are much less likely to obtain higher education degrees. There is clearly a gap, in other words, between what Hispanic parents say they want for their children, and the paths those children actually follow.