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Inspired to be the First: Increasing the Success Rate of African American & Latino/a First-Generation College Students Dr. Pamela A. Larde, Professor of.

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Presentation on theme: "Inspired to be the First: Increasing the Success Rate of African American & Latino/a First-Generation College Students Dr. Pamela A. Larde, Professor of."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 Introduction What to expect from this presentation Why this study Significance of the study

3 The College Access Problem

4 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.

5 The College Access Problem Inferior educational resources for students living in underprivileged neighborhoods Lack of parental support to attend college Limited college knowledge African American and Latino/a students among the populations least likely to go to college

6 What’s Often Overlooked

7 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

8 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.

9 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.

10 Review of Literature 1.Lack of parental support 2.Poor academic preparation 3.Limited financial resources 4.Lack of college knowledge 5.Negative cultural norms First-Generation Students: Five Typical (or Mythical) Challenges

11 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

12 The Sample

13 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

14 How the Study Was Conducted Phenomenological Study - Interviews Designed 16 interview questions Contacted students via student organization 28 respondents filled out an online demographic questionnaire Selected students whose parents had no college experience Conducted 17 tape-recorded interviews

15 And here’s what they told us about the journey to college…

16 The Nine Strengths 1.Not easily discouraged 2.Desires upward social mobility 3.Expects high academic performance 4.Resists stereotype threat 5.Rejects negative cultural norms 6.Aspires to pave the way for others 7.Possesses spiritual assurance 8.Has a sense of responsibility 9.Prefers self-reliance

17 Strength #1 Not Easily Discouraged

18 “No one can stop me.” “Ouch and that’s it.” “My school didn’t offer it, so I found it.” “Mom never says she’s proud.” Remind them of their self-determination. Encourage them to share their success strategies. Help them transfer their resourceful skills to college and career.

19 Strength #2 Desires Upward Social Mobility

20 “I want to get the education my mom couldn’t have.” “My parents worked hard for me.” “I don’t want to struggle like my family.” “My mentor was an inspiration to me.” Encourage them to talk about the future. Coach them to develop a game plan. Place role models in front of them.

21 Strength #3 Expects High Academic Performance

22 “Earning a ‘B’ is not acceptable.” “I sought out the difficult courses.” “I met with my teacher on Saturdays.” Arm them with new academic strategies. Encourage them to connect with other students. Make sure they are aware of resources.

23 Strength #4 Resists Stereotype Threat

24 “I stayed away from other Latinos.” “I worked hard not to be the stereotype.” “I wanted to prove myself even more.” “I ignored them.” Educate them about stereotype threat. Be aware of their racial identity development. Arm them with healthy resistance strategies.

25 Strength #5 Rejects Debilitating Cultural Norms

26 “Everyone called me a sellout so I stayed to myself.” “My mom was jealous of me, so I looked to my grandmother.” “I was NOT going to live that kind of life.” Praise them for their strength. Ask questions: Learn their stories and backgrounds. Encourage them to also reject negative norms in college.

27 Strength #6 Aspires to Pave the Way for Others

28 “I have to be a good role model for my little cousins.” “If I don’t encourage my siblings, no one will.” “I am here so that I can help others get here.” Provide mentoring opportunities. Help the connect their aspirations to help others to a career. Encourage them to coordinate campus events for siblings.

29 Strength #7 Possesses Spiritual Assurance

30 “God blessed me with this opportunity.” “My faith in God is what helps me through.” “I always said that God didn’t bring me this far to fail.” Encourage them to discover their greater life purpose. Help them connect with a spiritual community. Encourage them to utilize those spiritual values that motivated them to seek college.

31 Strength #8 Has a Sense of Responsibility

32 “The roles are reversed. I was my grandmother’s caretaker.” “I started translating for my mom when I was 5.” “I treated school like it was my career.” Help them effectively balance academics, activities, and job. Help them keep their academic vs. familial responsibilities in perspective.

33 Strength #9 Prefers Self-Reliance

34 “I took care of the financial aid forms myself.” “I never asked for help. If I got help, it’s because they offered.” “My family wanted the best for me but didn’t know how to help.” Encourage them to seek out help when it is needed. Encourage them to use their problem- solving skills in college. Provide team-building experiences that connect them with other students.

35 Reflecting on the Nine Strengths Do you see any of these strengths in your own students? Do they see these strengths in themselves?

36 The College Predisposition Model

37 What does this mean for us?

38 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?

39 Questions or Comments?

40 Digging Deeper: Resources Check out some of these links for great resources on this topic: Self-Determination Based Curriculum

41 Thank you for participating! If you have questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me via:   Twitter:  Facebook:  Website:


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