Selecting Pathways: Latinxs, Choices, and Two-year Colleges

  • Spencer Salas
  • Mark M. D'Amico
  • Cecilia Rios-Aguilar
  • Manuel S. González Canché
  • Adam K. Atwell


After the choice of a two-year college, more choices follow—and individuals make those choices based on a combination of knowing why (aspirations), knowing how (gaining knowledge and skills), and knowing whom (sources of information about college and careers). In this article, we unpack the relationship between two-year college students’ choices once enrolled in two-year colleges, the alignment of those choices to their projected career goals, and the sources of knowledge/knowing that inform that decision-making. Leveraging data captured from a multi-institution, multi-state administration of the College and Career Capital Survey (CCCS), we theorize the potential underestimation of Latinx students’ decision-making processes for careers while in the higher education setting. Findings suggest that despite longstanding mismatching theories, it is also possible that Latinx students know or might come to know how to leverage the two-year college pathway in ways that benefit both them and the communities they represent. We conclude with implications for future research emphasizing the development of mediational tools for students’ knowing as they enter postsecondary pathways and leverage their experiences to make such pathways purposeful and sustainable.