Dissertation

Success factors and strategies of Mexican-American males who have earned a bachelor's degree

Latinos are projected to have the lowest attainment of bachelor’s degrees at 12% by the year 2020. For every 100 Latino males in elementary school, only 10 will earn a bachelor’s degree compared to 28 Whites and 48 Asians. These figures reflect a disconcerting trend in that it is estimated Hispanics of Mexican origin make up 10% of the overall population in the United States and demographic projections estimate the gap between college education completion and demographic representation will only widen without concerted efforts to correct these outcomes. This phenomenological study examined the success factors and strategies used by five Mexican-American males in Northern California who had earned a bachelor’s degree. Four of the five participants were born in Mexico and the remaining participant was born in the United States. The theoretical frameworks for this study include LatCRIT, Cultural-Ecological theory, and the Resiliency theory. The research questions include Research Question #1: How does the family value system, family member roles, and expectations inform the Mexican-American male students’ experiences with achieving a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education? Research Question #2: How does your cultural identity inform your experience in attaining a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education? Research Question #3: What has been your experience regarding the institutional academic and social resources available to Mexican-American men as they seek to attain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education? The seven themes that emerged from the findings were immigration, high school preparedness and programs, social/family support in college, parental understanding of expectations of their sons, the role of high school and college counseling, the management of culture shock from attending a university, and formal programs in college in which the students participated.

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