Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Brian Beabout, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Chris Broadhurst, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Marc Bonis, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Brooke Muntean, Ph.D.


While traditionally underrepresented groups are attaining degrees at a higher rate than ever before, these students still receive bachelor’s degrees at significantly lower rates than other groups of students (Avery & Kane, 2004; Wilds, 2000). As a result of the educational attainment gap in the United States, precollege outreach programs have been established to provide resources for underrepresented youth to aid them in completing a post-secondary degree. Current research focuses on these participants’ college enrollment and, as a result, minimal information is available to describe these programs and their outcomes concerning students’ first year experience and college success (Hooker & Brand, 2009; Orr et al., 2007; Swail & Perna, 2002; Yeung, 2010). Framed around resiliency theory, this phenomenological study exams college access program alumni’s acclimation process into a four-year, post-secondary institution. Through the data analysis, four essentials features emerged: 1) Program Connections as External Factors, 2) Connections as External Factors in the College Setting, 3) Determination, Self-Advocacy and Willingness to Try New Things as Internal Protective Factors, and 4) Nurturing College Knowledge. Recommendations are shared to further the program in being a degree attainment intervention, in addition to a college access strategy. These include: providing development to educators in behavior management and inclusion, integrating parent involvement throughout the curriculum, providing continual support to alumni and establishing stronger partnerships with surrounding colleges. As a result of this study, leaders in secondary and post-secondary education as well as policymakers are able to gain insight on how Upward Bound services in Louisiana can nurture external and internal protective factors of resiliency that assist participants in embracing constructive responses to stressors in the first year of college.


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