Exploring the College Pathways of Asian American Community College Students and the Model Minority Myth
Description: Contrary to the model minority myth that portrays Asian Americans as academic all-stars over-represented in elite four-year institutions, half of all Asian American college students do in fact attend community colleges, and many experience myriad challenges. This exploratory study investigated the community college pathways of Asian American community college students, the role of family and culture in shaping expectations for higher education, and participants’ perceptions of the model minority myth and the degree to which this myth influenced their college experiences. Institutional practices and policies, or lack thereof, that support the success of this highly diverse population were also studied. Purposeful sampling was used to gather a sample of 28 students, who self-identified as Asian American and attended one of the three largest community college districts located in North Texas. The sample included 16 males and 12 females, whose ages ranged from 18 to 49 years old, with a mean age of 24. Data collection involved a demographic questionnaire and semi-structured individual interviews. The participants represented 13 different ethnicities, and nine were members of more than one ethnic or racial group. Ten participants were foreign-born citizens, and all of the participants had at least one foreign-born parent. Qualitative data provided description rich information that shed light on the expectations, experiences, and views of Asian American community college students, a virtually unstudied population. Consistent with current literature on Asian American college students, the findings suggest many Asian American community college students struggle with tremendous cultural and familial pressures for succeeding academically, and many described their experiences with racial microaggressions related to model minority stereotypes that they perceived their peers and instructors to have held. Recommendations for policy and practice designed to improve educational outcomes for Asian American community college students are addressed.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Hamm, Amanda E.