I think of college as setting a good foundation for my future: Black males navigating the college decision making process

Erik M. Hines, Paul C. Harris, Renae D. Mayes, James L. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Little attention is given to black male experiences and decision-making process around college-going. A qualitative study (interpretive phenomenological analysis [IPA]) was conducted using a strengths-based perspective to understand the experiences of three first-generation black men college students attending a predominately white institution. Superordinate themes include perceived benefits to attending college, barriers to college admission and attendance and influential programs and supports. Recommendations for school counselors helping black males are included. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used a narrative approach to illustrate the stories and experiences captured by the three young men who participated in the study. Hays and Singh (2012) suggested using a narrative approach for telling the stories of marginalized groups. IPA (Smith, 1996) was the approach used to identify superordinate themes, because the authors wanted to better understand the participants’ K-16 experiences. As a qualitative approach, IPA provides detailed examinations of personal lived experiences on its own terms rather than pre-existing theoretical preconceptions. Findings: The participants’ accounts clustered around three superordinate themes: perceived benefits to college, barriers to college admission and attendance and influential programs and supports. Originality/value: Although there are studies that provide insight on the factors that impact first-generation, black men’s success in attending college, there are few studies that have used a strengths-based perspective to investigate key experiences that lead to college enrollment. Those experiences that lead first-generation black male to attend college are pivotal and provide insight into important points of intervention and support. School counselors and other educators can use these insights to inform practices and the creation of supports for black men in their respective schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-147
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for Multicultural Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 23 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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