Second-generation African-American college students:
Benton, Lauri Silas
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Disparities in educational preparation, postsecondary access, and academic achievement for under-resourced, first-was generation college students, particularly African-American and Hispanic students, are well documented. However, there is limited information about the specific educational experiences, influences, and outcomes of second-generation African-American college students, a significant (Elias & Haynes, 2008; Li & Nussbaum, 2007). This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of second-generation African-American college students who have navigated the path to college completion. Through the use of semi-structured interviews, the researcher identified three themes in the data aligned to Bronfenbrenner’s (1997) ecological systems theory. The first theme, expectations and interconnected support systems, included three sub-themes: (a) parent and family influences, (b) community influences, and (c) educator influences. The second theme, influence of school culture and climate, included two sub-themes: (a) academic rigor, and (b) co-curricular involvement and engagement. The third, and most salient theme communicated by students, participant self-knowledge and future focus, included three subthemes: (a) racial identity, awareness and class, (b) motivation and inspiration and (c) resilience. Implications for future research, school counselor and higher education practice, and advocacy are described to inform successful college advising and support strategies for all African-American students.