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Darris Means, an assistant professor in the department of counseling and human development services, will spend the upcoming academic year studying seniors who attend rural high schools in Georgia as they navigate the college choice process. Read the full story in our News section.


The research on rural Black students has identified and characterized college access and choice challenges experienced by this population of students compared to their White rural peers and Black urban and suburban peers. However, less attention has been paid to understanding the critical factors and mechanisms used by rural Black students to navigate their pathways to higher education despite challenges. In this qualitative study, I use an anti-deficit achievement approach to study the knowledge, skills, abilities, and social networks of rural Black students and how they use these assets to inform their college choice process. I employ three semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation to study the college choice process of 20 rural Black senior high school students. Results have the potential to have a school-level influence on how educators and school counselors work with rural Black students to support their access to higher education, and, on a state and federal level, shape college-going curriculum and college access policies that are inclusive of and enhance the educational outcomes of rural Black students.


National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation

Principal Investigator

Active Since

August 2017