Caribbean Students in U.S Colleges/Universities

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Research Question: How has the culture of Caribbean Students accepted into U.S college/universities change or stay the same since Affirmative Action? What influenced this change? What do various ethnic groups in the U.S think of this change?

Relevance: In order to get a job in almost any field in today’s society it is a requirement to have an undergraduate degree from an institution of higher learning. For this reason the pool of students applying to Colleges and Universities in the United States has dramatically increased over the years. Most of these institutions have made it a priority to accept a diverse population into their specific institution after the approval of Affirmative Action, which prohibits any organization to discriminate against an individual because of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. Since affirmative action in the 1960s the acceptance rate of minority students has steadily increased. Although there has been an increase in minorities accepted into U.S Colleges/Universities, there has not been an even distribution of native minority students who are accepted and immigrant minority students accepted. It was not until this past Black History month that I was informed that the majority of minority students accepted into U.S Colleges/Universities are from foreign countries. This fact startled me and since being presented with this information I have been determined to figure out more information on this topic. This topic also sparked my interest because I have a personal connection with the material seeing that I was born in the Caribbean and am now attending a U.S college.

With all this said I think this topic is relevant to Ed. 300 because since being implemented Affirmative Action has transformed the life of African American students in U.S schools to provide them with an equal educational experience.  Everyone wants to believe that we live in a just society where everything is made equal but even creating a policy such as Affirmative Action does not eliminate prejudice. However, Affirmative Action has achieved a laundry list of things since its short existence including magnifying how Colleges/Universities admission officials have favored immigrant, specifically Caribbean, students over native minority students into their institutions.

Research Strategy:
I mentioned earlier that I was informed of this phenomenon in February. This topic was surfaced at a Black History Month event hosted by a Caribbean Student here at Trinity that focused on what it means to be “African-American”. She had found a video and very controversial article in the Washington Post centered on Shirley Wilcher’s, executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, research findings on the increased acceptance rate of students from Africa and the Caribbean and a decrease in the acceptance rate of native blacks. I first reread this article. Later in my research process I plan on looking up other articles where Shirley Wilcher voices her opinion on how she feels about the shift in acceptance rate since she was a student in the 1970’s. After participating in the activity in class I was presented with advice to branch out and research the culture of Caribbean Students in U.S schools and how that has changed over the years. I have already found numerous articles that address this issue. I began my search by going to goggle and typed in the following phrases:

1. Acceptance rate of Caribbean students in U.S college and universities-only showed Caribbean medical schools
2. Carribbean students-gave me a lot of results that mentioned only schools in the Caribbean
3. Caribbean students in U.S colleges-gave me 3 really good articles on Caribbean students culture
4. Used the citation of one of the previous articles as a search phrase-led me to an article on Black immigrants and Black Natives attending selective colleges/universities in U.S
After finding these articles I went to JStor and typed in “Caribbean students in U.S colleges AND universities” in the search box and found a very intriguing article on the difference in college attendance of immigrant blacks, native blacks, and whites.

Primary Sources:
1. Bennett, Pamela R., and Amy Lutz. “How African American Is the Net Black Advantage? Differences in College Attendance Among Immigrant Blacks, Native Blacks, and Whites.” Sociology of Education 82, no. 1 (January 1, 2009): 70–99.

2. Burrell-McRae, Karlene AP. “Ivy League or Nothing: Influences of Caribbean American Students’ College Aspiration and Choice”. University of Pennsylvania, 2009.

3. ANNA, CARA. “Among Black Students, Many Immigrants.” The Washington Post, April 30, 2007, sec. Nation.

4. D. Bruce Cambell Jr. “Caribbean Student’s Adjustment to a Culture at a Small, Liberal Arts College”, 2002.

5. Massey, Douglas, Margarita Mooney, Kimberly Torres, and Camille Charles. “Black Immigrants and Black Natives Attending Selective College and Universities in the United States.” American Journal of Education 113, no. 0195–6744 (February 2007).

6. Not only do I want to use online articles but I would also like to interview as much undergraduate Caribbean students both on this campus and at other campuses, not prohibiting students who have already received their undergraduate degree to participate.

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Shantel Hanniford

My name is Shantel Hanniford and I am currently a Junior at Trinity College. I was born in Jamaica but grew up in Nantucket, Ma with my father and my step-mother. I am double majoring in Educational Studies and Psychology. I am also a member of the Women’s Basketball team and a social-chair for the Caribbean Student’s Association on campus.

5 thoughts on “Caribbean Students in U.S Colleges/Universities”

  1. Shantel, you have identified an interesting topic and some relevant secondary sources, but need to improve the wording of the research question. Here’s two different possibilities that would fulfill this assignment:

    1 – a focus on policy transformation: How did US college affirmative action policies and programs address Afro-Caribbean students in the 1960s/70s, compared to today?

    2 – a focus on the students: How have the experiences of Black Caribbean college students changed, relative to African-Americans, over the past few decades?

    Or perhaps you have another idea. In any case, let’s meet to discuss your revised focus and research question, which will help me to offer better advice about sources.

    -This is an article from the Washington post i believe. It is very short but it provides some historical background of the Caribbean students.
    -Monroe college recruitment of Caribbean students in 1990’s
    -conclude from 1990 census that Caribbeans are less likely to drop out of school

    I also received the book that we ordered through the consortium that has a lot of facts about Caribbean culture and suggests reasons for why they are more apt to be more successful than native-blacks in academics and income.

  3. Shantel, you’ve taken the initiative to find more sources about the general topic of West Indian students in higher education in the US, but you need to dig deeper to match sources with an appropriate research question. If you cannot find the sources for your ideal question, then you need to consider modifying the question slightly to match the sources. Here are some examples:

    1) If you wish to modify your RQ into something like, “How did Caribbean students’ experiences of higher education in Britain in the post-war era compare to their experiences in US in recent years?”, then look at this article, which I found by conducting a WorldCat keyword search for “west indies” and “history” and “higher education”:

    Leaders, Dissidents and the Disappointed: Colonial Students in Britain as Empire Ended
    Author: A J Stockwell
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Edition/Format: Article : EN
    Publication: The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 36, no. 3 (2008): 487-507
    After the Second World War, the British embarked on a massive programme of university development in the colonies. At the same time more colonial students than ever before pursued higher education in the United Kingdom where they were excited by political freedom but troubled by living conditions and racial discrimination. The government now faced a colonial problem on the home front. Some suspected students of fomenting unrest in the empire; others cultivated them as future leaders of post-colonial states. The Colonial Office made their welfare a priority but was ill-equipped to provide it. Drawing upon the experience of the British Council and resources of voluntary organisations, it managed to mitigate, but not to eradicate, student disappointments whose origins lay deep in both British society and colonial communities.

    2) If you wish to modify your RQ into something like “How did Caribbean students’ experiences of higher education in their homeland compare to their experience in the US during the past several decades?” then look at books like this, which I found through the same WorldCat search above:
    Higher education in the Caribbean : past, present and future directions
    Author: Glenford D Howe
    Publisher: Kingston, Jamaica : University of the West Indies Press, ©2000
    chapters include:
    The historical development of higher education in the anglophone Caribbean / Alan G. Cobley —
    Contrasting problems facing universities in the developed and developing worlds : the same difference / Rex Nettleford —
    Higher education and Caribbean identity / Orville Kean —
    The politics of Caribbean higher education / Bevis F. Peters —
    Access to tertiary education in the Commonwealth Caribbean in the 1990s / Errol Miller —

    See related works with this WorldCat subject search:
    su:Education, Higher Caribbean, English-speaking.
    and also

    Bottom line: Be willing to modify your research question slightly to match the types of sources that you can find that meet the change/continuity over time aspect of the assignment and also interest you. If you haven’t already done so, it may be wise to meet with a librarian, but bring along this post about your RQ and search strategy so far.

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