Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Erin E. Hardin

Committee Members

Melinda M. Gibbons, L. Christian Elledge


College preparation is an important topic in the educational attainment for high school students. Much of the research on college planning focuses on the importance and timing of preparing for postsecondary education; however, little research exists that has determined which steps students actually take while preparing for college. The current study utilizes the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent et al., 1994) framework to create a validated measure to assess choice behavior. In this study, college planning behaviors (CPB), which are the concrete behaviors an individual engages in to prepare for college, were considered as choice actions within the SCCT model. The purpose of the current study was to create a validated measure for choice actions, as well as survey 10th and 11th grade students (n = 503) from rural Appalachian high schools to identify the behaviors in which they are engaging to prepare for postsecondary education. The measure was found to demonstrate good reliability and validity in this population, providing good internal consistency and construct validity. Further, these findings indicate support that CPB are linked to barriers, college-going self-efficacy (CGSE), and college outcome expectations (COE).

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