Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Carol-Anne Phekoo

Third Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee

Fourth Committee Member

Mary A. Avalos


The purpose of this study was to seek the potential factors affecting Hispanic middle school students’ college readiness. Although it is important that students begin preparing for college as early as middle school, Hispanic students often fall behind in their readiness for college. The current study examined whether Hispanic middle school students’ college readiness is related to students’ perceived family engagement and college awareness. Research questions examined in the study were: (1) How does college awareness relate to college readiness of middle school Hispanic students? and (2) How do students’ perceptions of family engagement relate to college readiness of middle school Hispanic students? To make statistical inferences on the target population of sixth- through eighth-grade Hispanic students, the convenience sample of 63 Hispanic students in grades six through eight was obtained from a middle school in a K-8 school in Homestead, Florida. The characteristics of the sample school district are described as low middle class, less educated, and consisting of 64% Hispanic students, 99% of them receiving free or reduced lunch (i.e., The main findings were that students with higher college awareness were more likely to be ready for college before high school, and that the effect of college awareness on college readiness is much larger for students in ESOL level 5 and non-ESOL, as compared to those in ESOL levels 1-4. However, family engagement was not found to be a significant predictor of college readiness of a middle school Hispanic student. This study demonstrates the need for college awareness initiatives in the middle school setting, especially for Hispanic students of low SES backgrounds. Even though they receive emotional support from their parents and families, it is necessary for Hispanic students to be aware of college before high school to become college ready, and implications for practice are given. College choice theory, social and cultural capital theory, and college readiness models would assist in better understanding why students are not college ready and provide educational stakeholders with opportunities to enhance programs. Study findings also suggest the need for research on how student self-efficacy affects college readiness as well as providing emotional and social support services to ESOL students immediately upon their arrival in the U.S.


middle school college readiness; Hispanic college readiness; middle school Hispanic college readiness; middle school college awareness; college awareness; Hispanic college awareness