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College access continues to be highly stratified across racial, socioeconomic, and first-generation status. Although there are numerous studies on college readiness programs, the research on the correlation between college proximity and college access is lacking or contradictory. Moreover, minimal research exists on college readiness programs within the context of place-based community engagement at a Jesuit university. This mixed-methods, action research case study investigated how to build accessible and equitable pathways to Jesuit colleges and universities within close proximity of historically underrepresented communities, focusing primarily on first-generation, low-income students of color from Northeast Spokane, Washington. Bordieu’s theories of cultural and social capital as well as Conley’s four facets of college readiness shaped the study. The results revealed that a college immersion program could have a positive and transformative experience on high school students’ perceptions of higher education over the course of just three days, whereas interviews with high school counselors, university admission staff, and a public school district administrator indicated that long-term key strategies were essential to improving local recruitment and building a P-16 educational pipeline.



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