The current trend in lack of Latina/o students attending college combines a lack of college readiness with a deficiency in resources to prepare this student population. More and more higher education scholars are accepting these deficiencies as roadblocks to college access, and are looking to preparation programs and parent educational resources as a subject worthy of consideration. There are many different challenges being faced by this population, a population that is according to Oliva and Nora, “the fastest growing minority population in the country”(Oliva & Nora, 2004). Research shows that “less than 43% of Hispanic high school students are qualified to enroll in 4 year institutions”(Saunders & Serna, 2004). With the rapid growth in population, this minority group needs advocacy for equal opportunities in higher learning now more than ever.
Educators, parents, policy makers, and institutional leaders all play a vital role in the advocacy of Latino/a students on their journey towards higher education. Access to information on how to attain higher education and practices needed to plan for the next steps, are necessary in preparing for the future. As the Latina/o population continues to grow in the United States it is important to recover what their educational outlook is in regards to higher learning. This literature review will examine the roadblocks facing Latina/o students including, parent involvement and understanding, family influence, preparation programs, and school support, and explore ways in which educators can work towards making college access a more frequent reality for Latina/o students.
Parent Involvement and Understanding
To begin to understand why Latina/o students find themselves significantly behind their Caucasian peers in college access, we must first look to the home and examine the relationship the parents of this population of students have with higher education. In a 2004 journal by Susan Auerbach, the concept of parental influence and support for Latina/o students is addressed. Auerbach shares that, “Research suggests the pivotal role of parents in promoting students’ college going” (Auerbach, p.127). It is no mystery that parents have great influence over their children, and when a parent is uneducated on how to best advise their child regarding higher education, they are unable to use this influence to encourage attendance. Auerbach states, “Families without a tradition of college going do not have sufficient knowledge to help their children navigate pathways to college” (Auerbach, p.140). According to the Latino Eligibility Study, the single most important barrier to college access for Latino students in California is lack of active knowledge of the steps needed to go to college (Gandara, 1998,2002). Parents of first generation students need tools that can aid in the child’s success and serve as a means of knowledge on what can be a challenging and confusing process. Another issue tied to parent involvement...