Hmong students' life experiences that affect educational attainment

The purpose of this study was to explore and identify the various life experiences and factors that contributed to Hmong adults staying in college and how they ultimately graduated from college while coping with their experiences along the way. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 Hmong students by using semi-structured, openended questions. Findings revealed that the participants’ parents’ life experiences in Laos, their struggles with the Vietnam War, and their relocation to the United States made a big impact on the students’ decisions to attend college. Support from family and friends, professors and advisors, and the use of university services such as the Tutoring Center and Educational Opportunity Program, helped the participants remain in college and eventually graduate. Study implications suggest a need for social workers in college counseling centers. Social workers are more likely to be sensitive regarding the issues and needs of Hmong students, and they have a deeper understanding of cultural sensitivity concerning minority students. Future studies could focus on continuing to explore this topic to gain a broader and deeper knowledge base.