Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students Page: 16
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This chapter reviews research directed to understanding factors impacting the first-year
college experiences of Hispanic students in general and of female Hispanic students, in
particular. The topics explored in these research studies include expectation that Hispanic
students have of participation in college, the barriers faced by Hispanics and particularly female
Hispanics in completing college, engaging in the college experience and establishing a sense of
belonging to the college community and early attrition. The last portion of this chapter reviews
the theories that provide the framework for this study.
Like all pre-college students, Hispanic students have preconceived ideas of what their
college experience will entail. Unfortunately, a large portion of Hispanic students, more so than
any other ethnic group, have unrealistic expectations of their college experience and experience
significant barriers that they must overcome to succeed in higher education (Ishitani, 2006; Lalla,
2007; Zalaquett, 2006). When a student decides to leave college, it is usually not a single issue
that led to that decision but a combination of several concerns (Longden, 2006). Examples of
previous research, from 1990-2007, demonstrate that a significant gap exists between what the
student expected of their college experience and what the student's actual experiences were.
Widdows and Hilton (1990) studied 1,600 first year students from a large Mid-western
university and found that most students make their decision to leave the institution during the
first six weeks of their freshman year. The researchers found that most students did have
"idealistic" and "exaggerated" expectations of their college experience prior to coming to
college, however, the majority (92.8%) of this population was able to readjust their expectations
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Speed, Heather Faye. Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students, dissertation, August 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103396/m1/27/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .