Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Debra L. Welkley

Second Advisor

Evelyn J. Thomas


The purpose of this basic qualitative research study was to explore the perceptions of former career and technical student organization (CTSO) members’ postsecondary choices relative to their involvement in CTSOs in a midsize city high school. The research question that guided this qualitative study was:

How do former participants in CTSOs describe the student organization’s influence on their postsecondary choices?

Thirteen former CTSO members participated in this study through semistructured individual interviews. Four themes emerged from the data: (a) use of soft skills, (b) engagement with others, (c) participation in conferences, and (d) leadership preparation. Through data analysis, the themes indicated that former CTSO members believed that involvement in their CTSO influenced their postsecondary choice and their overall experience as a member was positive. Implications of this study include (a) that participation in a CTSO has a positive influence on members; (b) the more a member participates in a CTSO, the more benefits they receive; and (c) CTSOs create a “safe place” for students to share challenges, to learn from mentors, and to learn about community resources. From the findings, two areas for further study are (a) that a broader study should include former members of any high school student organization, not just those specific to former members of a high school CTSO and (b) that a broader study should include former CTSO members from more than one high school.


Ed.D. Dissertation

Included in

Education Commons



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