Latino/a Identities and Support Sources: The significance of home, class and co-curricular activities
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Latinos have the largest growing population especially in California yet, they remain the lowest percentage in graduation rates. In fact, Yosso (2006) claims that out of 100 Latinos enrolling into elementary only 7 graduate with a BA degree. Occidental College students (N=38) participated in my study by completing a survey and interview. I asked them about their experiences in social supports that I identified as home, academic, and co-curricular spheres. The participants filled out questionnaires about their identity and I categorized the participants according to the range of Latino identities. I found that, among the many experiences across the different identities and spheres of social support, the most prevalent and fundamental results were those from the cultural identity. For example, the majority of traditionally identified (57%) and bi-culturally identified (39%) students claimed their most positive experience in academia were in the social sciences, while the assimilated students (36%) claimed their positive experiences were in the sciences. Across all identities, their academia experiences were positive due to professor interactions. This illustrates how students must attain positive attachments to increase their sense of belonging by integrating academically and socially to successfully attain their BA degree (Hurtado and Carter, 1997). Through the data that I gathered, I was able to distinguish and highlight the necessary forms of support that are necessary to assist Latino/as in their experiences and raise the number of Latinos attaining their BA degree.