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PHD Education and Information, AQM

I am applying to the Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies in the Department of Education at the University of XXXX I am applying for the position of doctoral fellow in the Advanced Quantitative Methods program in Education Research. My desire to attend XXXU is driven by my passion for research in the area of school counseling and college access. My primary interest lies in the work of Dr. XXXX since I have enormous respect for her research on issues of social class and school structure, access for African-Americans and Latino students, the role of counseling and academic opportunities, the impact of financial aid on college choice, private college counselors, affirmative action, and college admission policy. I am have also been personally empowered and highly motivated by the work of Drs. XXXX and XXXX. I very much appreciate their focus on the issue of college preparation programs and share their concern over the issue of a lack of guidance and funding for these resources.

My own thesis explores the question of the extent to which (if any) that a significant correlation exists between the strength of school counseling programs, as represented by counselor density, on the one hand, and college-qualified students, as represented by UC A-G requirement completion and SAT and ACT registration in underrepresented and low-income communities, on the other. My working hypothesis is that indeed there is a statistically significant relationship between the number of college-qualified students, on the one hand, and counselor density, on the other. Data was collected on a sample of 20 Los Angeles Unified public Title 1 high schools through data made available through California’s Department of Education. Dr. Pete Goldschmidt, my chair and mentor, has been of great assistance. My work as a research assistant for Teachers of A New Generation (TNE) under Dr. XXXX has also proven to be an invaluable experience for proceeding in the most effective way with my own research. Having majored in Sociology as an undergraduate student, I was already quite familiar with the SPSS program, as a result of having taken a number of courses in statistics and measurement.

While living and learning in Los Angeles, California I have experienced first-hand the lack of guidance that high school students receive and a seeming lack of importance ascribe to this issue the Department of Education and state school districts. I am concerned with the broad range of factors that directly influence college matriculation and readiness.

While my passion for this field, as demonstrated by my own educational choices, research, and work experience, has been fueled by my own background and struggle. I began college as a Bio-Chem major, working thirty hours a week, struggling to keep my own head above water even as I played on the college water polo team. and tried to keep up with the new pace of college. In search of greater human meaning, however, I soon launched myself into the areas of Sociology, Psychology, Statistics and Trigonometry, along with Philosophy as an elective course. I soon learned that sociology and statistics were what fascinated me most. I started volunteering at a nursing home where I coordinated daily activities for the elderly and conducted interviews with nursing home patients, nurses and families as part of a facility evaluation.   I transferred to California State University XXXX as a Sociology major and a new love for statistics emerged. Suddenly, I found myself glued to SPSS, randomly running simple analyses on different variables. I became consumed by  numbers. As I was reading Marger’s  “Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes”  for an upper division sociology course, I decided to write my midterm paper on the issue of the veiled stratification system, coming into contact with Dr. McDonough s research on social class and school structure, and college access for minority students: I found my calling in life. By April of 2007, I started looking for a new job and received two offers, neither one of which I was able to turn down. One was as an Undergraduate Student Advisor at the EOP office at XXXX and the other was as a Site Supervisor for KYDS at XXXX Middle School- both serving under-privileged and “at-risk” students. Young, full of energy and passion, and my family being in financial need, I accepted both positions. I worked at XXXX in the morning hours, at KYDS from 2 to 6 p.m., and attended classes in the evenings.

 I want to devote my life to the study of evaluation and educational policy and I feel that the AQM program will prepare me to do so. For the first time in my life, I would like to have the opportunity to simply go to class and do research. Throughout most of my college life so far, I have worked over forty hours a week, and remember contemplating whether I would be able continue my education. I took as many classes I could in one semester so that I would pay less tuition and be able to find full-time work. As a result, my GRE scores suffered and I ask that my circumstances be taken into account in the evaluation of my application to your program. I keenly look forward to the opportunity to finally immerse myself in school without the pressure of having to work to support my family and I thank you for considering my application.

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