Becoming Academically Eligible: University Enrollment among First‐Generation, Rural College Goers

Rural Sociology / October 2020

UT student by water

Scholarship on first‐generation students from rural areas has largely analyzed educational barriers to college going and completion rather than acknowledge the unique matriculation process and sources of support that aid in circumventing educational barriers. Building on prior educational mobility literatures and utilizing an anti‐deficit achievement framework, the author draws from 20 in‐depth interviews with first‐generation, rural students to analyze support structures and the strategies these students employed to bypass class, race and geographic barriers to college enrollment. As the author's findings highlight, these students had limited access to college preparatory materials and classes while in high school, yet they and their families employed creative strategies and mechanisms that counteracted the educational resources they were lacking. The author's discussion highlights these strategies and mechanisms, and he concludes by suggesting future research directions—directions that recognize both challenges and opportunities for college going rural student populations.