Navigating college: The educational experiences of Hispanic immigrant-English Language Learners

Pamela Murillo, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine the educational experiences of Hispanic/Latino immigrant-English Language Learners (ELLs) who are graduates of the International High Schools. The study focuses on the International High School experiences that seem to foster college readiness. In addition, the study focuses on challenges and supports experienced by these individuals as well as the implications of their second language abilities during college. Twelve International High School graduates participated in the study. Qualitative methods were utilized and data obtained through semi-structured interviews were analyzed using both manifest and latent content analysis.^ During the interviews, International High School graduates shared their experiences at the International High Schools; the types of supports that helped them complete their undergraduate education; the way(s) their second language abilities helped them or hindered them during their college years; the negative challenges/barriers, or unpleasant reactions they experienced during their undergraduate education, and the type of advice they would give International High School graduates or immigrant students whose native language is not English to help them succeed in college. Participants shed light on the college readiness and higher education experiences of Hispanic/Latino immigrant-ELLs who attended International High Schools, provided insight into the supports and challenges experienced by these students while in college, and provided valuable suggestions for Hispanic/Latino immigrant-ELLs to help them succeed in college.^ The results revealed that participants had a positive experience at the International High Schools because the schools created an engaging and supporting environment for them. International High Schools helped them develop specific academic skills that prepared them for college such as learning English, problem solving, and writing. However, half of the participants felt that they were not academically challenged at the International High Schools and voiced the need to have had more advanced math, English, and science classes. Participants also communicated that while in college, they received support and encouragement from their professors and academic advisors, peers, and parents, while a few reported that support was available but they decided not to seek out support. Additionally, the majority of International High School graduates communicated that their second language abilities helped them academically and helped them take advantage of different opportunities in college, as well as to expand their social networks. The commonly identified challenges experienced by participants were academic challenges (including time management) and negative interactions with professors/advisors. In providing advice for International High school graduates and immigrant students whose native language is not English to help them get through their undergraduate education, almost all of the participants provided encouragement and general academic advice.^

Subject Area

Education|Psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Pamela Murillo, "Navigating college: The educational experiences of Hispanic immigrant-English Language Learners" (2015). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1604852.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI1604852

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