This qualitative case study examines the college choice decisions of rural students enrolled in engineering majors to understand what conditions and experiences led rural students to pursue engineering at their institution. We found four themes that help illuminate rural engineering students’ college choice journeys (1) The Inextricable Nature of College, Major, and Career Choice (2) “The Smart Person Thing to Do:” The Power of Prestige, (3) “Are You Sure You Don’t Want to Change your Major?” Dissonance Between Aspirations and Expectations, and (4) School and Community as Crucial Resources in College and Major Exploration. These findings have implications for those working with rural high school students seeking engineering degrees and admissions processes at four-year colleges and universities.

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