College aspirations among high school students have increased substantially in recent years, but minority students are only making up a small portion of the total college population. Resulting from the disparities seen in enrollment among the minority populations, many college preparation programs have developed. These programs seek to motivate students to attend college through increasing competence, by developing feelings of community among other methods. Self-determination theory states that to inhibit motivation, three psychological needs are to be met: competence, connectedness and autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000a). Based upon this theory, it was believed that its application would increase the effectiveness of college access programs. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the application of self-determination theory during a service learner’s experience while volunteering at college access events.



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