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Information and guidance about college is critical for students to pursue postsecondary education. However, students attending urban schools often have less information and less access to information about college pathways than their peers at wealthy suburban schools. High school counselors are a primary source of college guidance but little is known about the form and content of the information they provide. Based on analyses of participant observations and interviews with urban high school guidance counselors and students, this research investigated what types of college guidance information were offered to students and how that information was framed. The findings revealed that counselors emphasized facts about higher education and procedures involved in applying to colleges. However, this information was provided without the necessary context for interpreting it, as shown by: (1) mixed signals regarding high school performance and college standards, (2) missing pieces of information about grade point averages, and (3) communication barriers related to college admissions data. The incomplete academic framework hindered students in making effective use of college guidance and advancing along the path to college.
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- Taken Out of Context: Piecing Together College Guidance Information in Urban High Schools
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