Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Ofelia Garci­a

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education Administration | Higher Education and Teaching | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies


Bourdieu, Bronx, College Transition, Higher Education, Latino Males, scared straight


This study aims to provide a counter narrative to the deficit filled discourse surrounding Latino males by informing teachers, policymakers and researchers of the barriers and resources encountered by this population as they make the transition from high school to college. A qualitative research design was utilized for this study, which focused on 10 Latino males who mainly identified as Puerto Rican and Dominican, from the Bronx. Bourdieu's Theory of Practice, and his theoretical tools of field (structures), habitus (dispositions) and capital (social, cultural and economic), was used as the theoretical framework guiding this study. Participants shared the nuances of the college transition, which required them to negotiate various fields. Their interactions with the fields of the Bronx, school, and family provided messages and capital concerning college that either aligned or detoured their habitus toward college. These fields, at times, created "physical barriers" to accessing college such a lack of financial aid and inadequate schooling. But the fields also provided a layer of barriers which lived in the discourse and messages they received about college. This discourse informed the students' habitus which constructed a "college imagination" that perceived institutions of higher education as a dark, lonely place where no one would care for them. Moreover students discussed how teachers tried to "scare them straight" with a "caring" discourse that attempted to align their academic actions and behaviors towards what teachers envisioned as more appropriate for college "survival" and "success". Many of the participants were able to navigate issues around masculinity and academic unpreparedness to "successfully" transition to college by leaning on the support they received from their peers, college counselors, and their mothers. Ultimately the majority of the participants were able to navigate the college transitions through their habitus, which was aligned to interpreting college as a natural step in their life's journey.