The Associations Among Youth Characteristics, Secondary School Experiences, and Enrollment in Two- and Four-Year Colleges Among Youth with Disabilities
Miceli, Meredith Anne
McLaughlin, Margaret J
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The purpose of this study was to explore the associations between school program and services, high school achievement characteristics, and individual and household characteristics and enrollment in two- and four-year colleges among youth with disabilities. Variables related to youth characteristics and secondary school experiences were identified from the first 5 data collection points of the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2) database. Chi-squares, t-tests, and logistic regression analyses were used in this study. The results in this study showed that individual and household, high school achievement, and school program characteristics significantly predicted college enrollment among youth with disabilities. The model of variables including individual, household, parental, high school achievement, self-determination, and school program characteristics correctly classified 86.4% of the college enrollers in the analytic sample. These findings confirm the appropriateness of categories included in the NLTS2 Conceptual Framework. Additionally, the study found that high school achievement characteristics such as graduating from high school, participating in extra curricular activities, and experiencing financial management/ responsibility had the most consistent, positive impact on the probability of enrolling in two- and four-year colleges. Additionally, youth characteristics such as disability category, household income, and parental level of education significantly impacted the probability of enrolling in colleges. Finally, participating in vocational education, having a postsecondary goal to attend college, and taking a leadership role in one's transition planning process significantly increased the probability of the youth enrolling in college. The findings emphasize the importance of obtaining a high school diploma, participating in organized activities outside of the classroom, experiencing a level of autonomy or independence, and taking a leadership role in the transition planning process while in high school for youth with disabilities.