ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Maria Trache


Students with disabilities (SWDs) face unique challenges when it comes to the transition from high school to college. There is a lack of research regarding the effectiveness of college preparation for SWDs during their high school years. This quantitative dissertation explored the role of high school-built academic and social capital and other high school specific factors in increasing the likelihood of postsecondary participation and choice of a 4-year college. Bourdieu’s (1986) sociological theory of forms of capital provided the theoretical framework for the study. The study employed the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09; National Center for Education Statistics, n. d.) that provided a nationally representative sample of high school SWDs their post-high school choices by using descriptive and multivariate statistics. Results indicated that SWDs who gained academic capital did so by participating in advanced high school curriculum. In addition, the SWDs who acquired social capital did so through interaction with high school counselors regarding college planning. Students who acquired academic capital through academic programs and social capital through meeting with high school counselors for college planning were most likely to pursue postsecondary education by the age of 22 and choose a 4-year over a 2-year college as their first postsecondary institution. From a policy perspective, the study concludes that high school programs and support matter with respect to post-high school pathways chosen by SWDs.


Students with Disabilities, Transition from High School to College, Postsecondary Participation, College Choice, Bourdieu, Academic Capital, Social Capital


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025