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Suzanne Lent

2004 Research

Abstract: Institutional Fit: Diverse Student Experiences and the Shaping of Academic Identity

Mentor: Dr. Todd Hechtman, Sociology

Academic identity involves creating a self concept or "role associated behavior" through involvement in particular institutions such as education, family, economics, etc. Historical and current situational circumstances that influence a persons identity, as related to their educational aspirations and feelings of their role as "student," create an academic identity. I reviewed literature pertaining to student experiences (including those which addressed forms of marginalization) of historically underrepresented and non-traditional students pre and post college enrollment. Non-traditional students for the purposes of my review were classified as one or several of the following: first generation, older students, who may or may not be in the workforce while attending school, as well as those students with children. Historically underrepresented on college campuses are students of color and women students. Nontraditional and underrepresented students shared similarities in their apprehensions of enrolling in a college/university; A sense of fitting in or "mattering" as well as a struggle with role transformation affected both equally. Differences that had to be overcome ranged from familial responsibilities and home life to ethnic and cultural biases.


13th McNair WI Conf. & Grad Fair 11/5-7/2004

8th Annual Research & CW Symposium, EWU, May 18, 2005

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