Inspired to be the First: Increasing the Success

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 protected] www.PamelaAntoinette.com Introduction What to expect

from this presentation Why this study Significance of the study The College Access Problem 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 Whats Often Overlooked Whats 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 Organizations 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 Organizations 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 First-Generation Students: Five Typical (or Mythical) Challenges 1. Lack of parental support 2. Poor academic preparation 3. Limited financial resources 4. Lack of college knowledge 5. Negative cultural norms

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 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

And heres what they told us about the journey to college 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 Strength #1 Not Easily Discouraged Strength #1 No one can stop me.

Remind them of their self-determination. Ouch and thats it. Encourage them to share their success strategies. Mom never says

shes proud. My school didnt offer it, so I found it. Help them transfer their resourceful skills to college and career. Not Easily Discouraged Strength #2

Desires Upward Social Mobility Strength #2 I want to get the education my mom couldnt have. My parents worked hard for me. My mentor was an inspiration to me.

I dont want to struggle like my family. Encourage them to talk about the future. Coach them to develop a game plan. Place role models in front of them.

Desires Upward Social Mobility Strength #3 Expects High Academic Performance Strength #3 Earning a B is not acceptable.

Arm them with new academic strategies. I sought out the difficult courses. Encourage them to connect with other students. I met with my

teacher on Saturdays. Make sure they are aware of resources. Expects High Academic Performance Strength #4

Resists Stereotype Threat Strength #4 I stayed away from other Latinos. I worked hard not to be the stereotype. I ignored them. I wanted to prove myself even more.

Educate them about stereotype threat. Be aware of their racial identity development. Arm them with healthy resistance strategies. Resists Stereotype Threat

Strength #5 Rejects Debilitating Cultural Norms Strength #5 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. Rejects Debilitating Cultural Norms Strength #6 Aspires to Pave the Way for Others Strength #6

I have to be a good role model for my little cousins. If I dont 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. Aspires to Pave the Way for Others

Strength #7 Possesses Spiritual Assurance Strength #7 God blessed me with this opportunity. Encourage them to discover their greater

life purpose. My faith in God is what helps me through. Help them connect with a spiritual community. I always said that

God didnt bring me this far to fail. Encourage them to utilize those spiritual values that motivated them to seek college. Possesses Spiritual Assurance Strength #8

Has a Sense of Responsibility Strength #8 The roles are reversed. I was my grandmothers 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.

Has a Sense of Responsibility Strength #9 Prefers Self-Reliance Strength #9 I took care of the financial aid forms myself.

Encourage them to seek out help when it is needed. I never asked for help. If I got help, its because they offered. Encourage them to use their problemsolving skills in college.

Provide team-building experiences that connect them with other students. My family wanted the best for me but didnt know how to help. Prefers Self-Reliance

Reflecting on the Nine Strengths Do you see any of these strengths in your own students? --------Do they see these strengths in themselves? The College Predisposition Model What does this mean for us?

What does this mean for us? How do these findings compare to what youve 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?

Questions or Comments? 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: [email protected] Twitter: www.twitter.com/empoweredwriter Facebook: www.facebook.com/empoweredwriter Website: www.PamelaAntoinette.com

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