This study investigated patterns of college attendance using data from a nationwide and contemporary sample of 2112 rural youth. We found that more than half of rural youth attended two-year institutions at some point during their college career and about a fourth initially enrolled in a two-year college before enrolling in a four-year college. Results also revealed that parental education, college preparatory track and preparation experiences, and teacher expectations predicted students’ college attendance patterns. Our findings point to the importance of two-year colleges and highlight the influence of family characteristics and students’ schooling experiences in the postsecondary trajectories of rural youth.
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