10 Things that Colleges Need to Do to Help Black and Latino Students

Not all students of color who enroll in college as a freshman stay in school to graduate. Fewer black and Latino students are completing their undergraduate degrees, compared to Asian and white students enrolled at the same college.

A college education means equal access. The bachelor’s diploma can level the playing field for students of color, but colleges need to help black and Latino students get in school and stay until graduation.

Here are ten things colleges need to do to help black and Latino students:

  1. Take responsibility for the failure. Blaming black or Latino students for not graduating is like a doctor blaming her patient for getting sick from taking a prescribed medication. The doctor might have misdiagnosed the disease or prescribed the wrong medicine. Likewise, the university might not have had the right supports in place.
  2. Provide adequate student support. This support may come in the form of check-ins, checklists, and even campus counselors and mentors. Students who know what to expect are more likely to be successful.
  3. Prioritize minority student success. Black and Latino students will not be successful until you start thinking about their success in pursuing a degree and then identifying ways to make their diplomas a reality.
  4. Give black and Latino students the attention they need and deserve.
    Students receive more personalized attention and are more successful in smaller classes.
  5. Encourage questions. First generation college students may not realize they can ask for help or seek clarification. Some students may find themselves becoming isolated because they think they are already supposed to know how registration works or how long an essay is supposed to be.
  6. Help black and Latino students understand the financial aid process. Minority students often don’t know that college is within their grasp with the help of financial aid. Far too often, students assume they can’t go to college because there is no money for it.
  7. Market to black and Latino students. Black and Latino students don’t set their sites high enough when selecting a college, and as a result, they attend inferior schools with poorer graduation rates.
  8. Begin with high school. Colleges should hold high schools accountable for preparing minority students for college academically. Include black and Latino students in AP, IB and dual enrollment classes.
  9. Develop rapport and relationships. Personal connections are what help students stay in school. Knowing that a professor has committed to a student’s success can keep that student in school.
  10. Work with communities. Reach out to the communities that are home to student minorities.. By making contact with community leaders and showing what your college can offer, you make a connection. Create an ambassadorship of graduated students who tell others about your university.

By trying one or more of these strategies, you help black and Latino college students.



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