Inspired to be the First: Increasing the Success Rate of African American & Latino/a First-Generation College Students Dr. Pamela A. Larde, Professor of Research email@example.com www.PamelaAntoinette.com
Introduction • What to expect from this presentation • Why this study • Significance of the study
The College Access Problem True or False? With the development of so many new educational opportunities (such as online schools and 2 year colleges), access is really not such a problem anymore.
The College Access Problem • Inferior educational resources for students living in underprivileged neighborhoods • African American and Latino/a students among the populations least likely to go to college • Lack of parental support to attend college • Limited college knowledge
What’s Often Overlooked How first-generation students approach overcoming challenges • The strengths and assets that first-generation students possess • How the parents of first-generation students provide support to educational endeavors
Strengths Theory • The Gallup Organization’s Strengthfinder • Looking at students from a positive standpoint, rather than simply a deficit standpoint • Studies on first-generation students often come from a negative standpoint.
Strengths Theory • The Gallup Organization’s Strengthsfinder • Looking at students from a positive standpoint, rather than simply a deficit standpoint • Studies on first-generation students often come from a negative standpoint.
Review of Literature Lack of parental support Poor academic preparation Limited financial resources Lack of college knowledge Negative cultural norms First-Generation Students: Five Typical (or Mythical) Challenges
Research Site “Private University” • Private, Catholic University • Located in Midwestern United States • Approximate undergraduate population: 8,046 • 82% Caucasian, 4.6% African American, 4.1 % Latino, 4% Asian, 0.3% American Indian
The Sample • 17 Students • 8 African American • 8 Mexican American • 1 of mixed race • 7 males, 10 females • 3.0 GPA or higher • 3 participated in pre-college program • All Mexican Americans raised by both parents • 2 African Americans raised by both parents
How the Study Was Conducted • Phenomenological Study - Interviews • Designed 16 interview questions • Contacted students via student organization email • 28 respondents filled out an online demographic questionnaire • Selected students whose parents had no college experience • Conducted 17 tape-recorded interviews
The Nine Strengths • Not easily discouraged • Desires upward social mobility • Expects high academic performance • Resists stereotype threat • Rejects negative cultural norms • Aspires to pave the way for others • Possesses spiritual assurance • Has a sense of responsibility • Prefers self-reliance
Strength #1Not Easily Discouraged Remind them of their self-determination. “No one can stop me.” “Ouch and that’s it.” Encourage them to share their success strategies. “Mom never says she’s proud.” Help them transfer their resourceful skills to college and career. “My school didn’t offer it, so I found it.”
Strength #2Desires Upward Social Mobility “I want to get the education my mom couldn’t have.” Encourage them to talk about the future. “My parents worked hard for me.” Coach them to develop a game plan. “My mentor was an inspiration to me.” Place role models in front of them. “I don’t want to struggle like my family.”
Strength #3Expects High Academic Performance Arm them with new academic strategies. “Earning a ‘B’ is not acceptable.” Encourage them to connect with other students. “I sought out the difficult courses.” “I met with my teacher on Saturdays.” Make sure they are aware of resources.
Strength #4Resists Stereotype Threat Educate them about stereotype threat. “I stayed away from other Latinos.” “I worked hard not to be the stereotype.” Be aware of their racial identity development. “I ignored them.” Arm them with healthy resistance strategies. “I wanted to prove myself even more.”
Strength #5Rejects Debilitating Cultural Norms Praise them for their strength. “Everyone called me a sellout so I stayed to myself.” Ask questions: Learn their stories and backgrounds. “My mom was jealous of me, so I looked to my grandmother.” Encourage them to also reject negative norms in college. “I was NOT going to live that kind of life.”
Strength #6Aspires to Pave the Way for Others Provide mentoring opportunities. “I have to be a good role model for my little cousins.” Help the connect their aspirations to help others to a career. “If I don’t encourage my siblings, no one will.” Encourage them to coordinate campus events for siblings. “I am here so that I can help others get here.”
Strength #7Possesses Spiritual Assurance Encourage them to discover their greater life purpose. “God blessed me with this opportunity.” “My faith in God is what helps me through.” Help them connect with a spiritual community. Encourage them to utilize those spiritual values that motivated them to seek college. “I always said that God didn’t bring me this far to fail.”
Strength #8Has a Sense of Responsibility Help them effectively balance academics, activities, and job. “The roles are reversed. I was my grandmother’s caretaker.” Help them keep their academic vs. familial responsibilities in perspective. “I started translating for my mom when I was 5.” “I treated school like it was my career.”
Strength #9Prefers Self-Reliance Encourage them to seek out help when it is needed. “I took care of the financial aid forms myself.” Encourage them to use their problem-solving skills in college. “I never asked for help. If I got help, it’s because they offered.” Provide team-building experiences that connect them with other students. “My family wanted the best for me but didn’t know how to help.”
Reflecting on the NineStrengths Do you see any of these strengths in your own students? --------- Do they see these strengths in themselves?
What does this mean for us? • How do these findings compare to what you’ve seen in the students you work with? • What is happening on the high school and college level that helps to nurture these strengths? • Where are opportunities being lost? • What can you do in your role as a professional to nurture these strengths?
Digging Deeper: Resources Check out some of these links for great resources on this topic: • http://www.strengthsquest.com/home.aspx • Self-Determination Based Curriculum • http://www.firstinthefamily.org/
Thank you for participating! If you have questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me via: • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Twitter: www.twitter.com/empoweredwriter • Facebook: www.facebook.com/empoweredwriter • Website: www.PamelaAntoinette.com