Batyshira Documents Ethnic Identity’s Role in Minoritized Students’ College Adjustment

Moving away from home onto a residential college campus can be a big change for Youth of Color—especially if the college environment differs markedly from their home neighborhood. But having a strong ethnic identity can help these students adjust to the academic demands of college, according to a recent dissertation study conducted by Aygul Batyshira. Aygul gathered information from 750 Students of Color on two college campuses—one predominantly White, the other more ethnically/racially mixed. Working under the direction of U.W. Professor Bradford Brown, she found that ethnic identity achievement was significantly associated with students’ academic adjustment, but not their social adjustment. This was equally true for men and women and for students on both campuses. Although a lot of identity work goes on at college, ethnic identity exploration was not associated with college outcomes for these students. Batyshira noted that these findings can help university staff design more effective programs to aid Students of Color in making a successful adjustment to college.

A full report of the study is reported in the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice.