Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Emily A. Paskewitz

Committee Members

Emily Paskewitz, John Haas, Shea Kidd Brown


The purpose of this study is to analyze the influence Vocational Anticipatory Socialization (VAS) and memorable messages have on rural first-generation college students’ interest in higher education. This study will utilize methodology regarding Vocational Anticipatory Socialization Messages and Sources from Powers and Myers (2017), the College Influence Choice Scale from Martin and Dixon (1991), as well as thematic analysis derived from survey questions designed by the researcher. The results of this study found that students report family as their most influential source to encourage higher education, peers as their most influential source to discourage higher education, and numerous encouraging and discouraging messages regarding financial success both positively and negatively, as well as the influence media has on vocational goals and aspirations. This study is crucial to understanding the messages that inform higher education pursuit for Tennessee’s rural and first-generation college students. This study has theoretical implications for VAS and memorable message research, as well as practical implications for the state of Tennessee’s educational system.

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