Adapting for the Latinx Wave -- A Perspective from UC-Riverside

The demographic makeup of the American College student is changing. The image of the traditional student as full time, living on campus, and on track to graduate in four years is no longer the norm. Some colleges across the country are doing incredible things to prepare for and support the new generation of college students. This article in the Washington Post examines some of these changes, and how a college like UC-Riverside supports its student body.

Students gather for fall convocation at the University of California at Riverside. (Stuart W. Palley for The Washington Post)

Students gather for fall convocation at the University of California at Riverside. (Stuart W. Palley for The Washington Post)

Over the past 15 years, the number Latinx students attending a university has doubled. In some cases, this increase has led to schools struggling to adapt to the needs of their students. However, as we have found over and over again, the schools that have the best outcomes are those that are committed to building cultures of support. The way this plays out is different depending on the needs of your students but there are many themes that hold true across the country. Take this quote from the article about UC-Riverside.

“What sets UC-Riverside apart, students and educators say, is a culture of support. Financial aid and peer mentoring are cornerstones. Professors take time to learn how to pronounce names. Latino activism, rooted in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s, runs deep here. There is an immigration lawyer on campus to help students.”

When professors and university staff are committed to supporting their students, great things happen.  Because of the culture created at UC-Riverside, there is almost a non-existent achievement gap between their many Latinx students and the white students at their school. I encourage students and families in the college exploration process to read the article and think about what are the structures and supports you can look for in your college search. We can all learn something from schools like UC-Riverside.

For more information, follow this link to view the article from the Washington Post.