Pre-College Factors Impacting Persistence in a Diverse University: An Exploration of High School Racial Composition and Experiences with Diversity

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Journal of College Student Retention

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Undergraduate student persistence has been widely studied over the past several decades; however, the majority of this research focuses on predominantly White institutions and fails to consider retention in a diverse context. To address this need, this exploratory study examined 3rd and 5th semester persistence of White and Hispanic students at a Hispanic-serving institution. In addition to traditional pre-college factors found to impact persistence, previous academic preparation, degree intent, and social class background, we examined experiences with diversity prior to entering college. The results of the logistic regressions indicate that different factors impact White and Hispanic students. Two of the three diversity experience variables, cultural awareness and racial composition of high school, were significant factors impacting persistence. The most important predictor of retention was the college cumulative grade point average. (Contains 5 tables.)