Entering College? Latino Professors Share Some Great Advice

August 21, 2015 - accent chair

Entering a halls of academia will be a daunting trust for any beginner walking into a college classroom for a initial time as a new propagandize year approaches. As a highbrow we have grown used to a many faces of doubt on a initial day of class. Some students disguise this in boisterous overconfidence, some in silence, yet with many students we can clarity their eyeballs follow we as we transport into a room on that initial day with counsel and curiosity. In short, it’s a fun day for those of us in front of a class, too.

Perhaps a biggest payoff as a Latino highbrow is meaningful other Latino/as who managed to attain and strech a tip pinnacles of academia. Many were kind adequate to send me their thoughts, and we post them below. But before we review them, we leave we with some thoughts and unsentimental recommendation we give to all my beginner students.

Latino students will certainly face a same problems all students face; such as time management, amicable pressure, and a entire participation of a byzantine bureaucracies we will need to master. But for Latino students, a barriers are many, and a pitfalls can be found everywhere. Even yet some-more Latinos are enrolling into college in incomparable numbers than ever before, a “pipeline” is still diligent with unaccompanied problems for many Hispanic students.

First-generation college students – whose relatives have not had a college trust – are quite disadvantaged by a miss of information systems that other students have built into their lives given childhood. From a paltry bland recommendation to a amicable and veteran networks that are pre-loaded into a lives of other students, first-generation students have a lot of throwing adult to do.

Grades are vicious since they will open adult destiny opportunities for connoisseur propagandize and vicious training programs we competence be meddlesome in, yet handling life will be your biggest challenge.

we cruise myself absolved to be a Latino highbrow who managed to do good adequate in propagandize to continue my studies and eventually get a Ph.D. But tough work will not apart we from a others. Everyone works hard. It will not make we unique.

Your aberration will come from within, and a beauty of college is a routine of realizing that what creates we special is already inside you. College is about appropriation a collection that will concede we to perform your potential. In my experience, this is a many vicious doctrine college will learn we prolonged after we have graduated.

First, get an internship. There is no softened approach to know a career than committing time to a job. Beyond training what a pursuit is about, be certain to observe how those in that career live and ask yourself if that is a life we want. Internships are fundamentally giveaway labor, and companies adore giveaway labor. If we are extraordinary about a certain job, call them adult and offer them giveaway labor in sell for entrance to their resources of knowledge. Nobody will caring about your destiny pursuit prospects some-more than you. This is adult to you.

Second, get to know as many people as possible, quite people who do not demeanour like you. As we pronounced above, students with mixed generations of college graduates in their families already have this problem solved. You will need to make adult for mislaid time. The immeasurable infancy of jobs and opportunities out there will be won by relationships. The genuine universe is usually 4 to 5 years away, and a genuine universe is filled with people who can't describe to you, yet whom we will need to be means to promulgate with effectively. College is a best time to practice your “social muscle”. Take this severely and be a good chairman to everyone.

Third, travel. Few things open your mind like holding in other cultures, new languages, and experiencing simply how other people do things. Take advantage of whatever programs are accessible during your propagandize for travel.

And remember this: we can see from a recommendation of my colleagues and friends subsequent that we all desperately wish we to succeed. Take advantage of that. Come contend hi. But again, be nice. Good luck!

Cristina Beltrán

Image: Cristina Beltrn

Associate Professor and Director of Latino Studies

Department of Social Cultural Analysis, New York University

Take yourself seriously, rise good essay skills

Whether you’re a initial in your family to go to college or a child of a professor, take yourself severely as an egghead and don’t be fearful to ask for assistance in posterior excellence. Become a unchanging during your college’s Writing Center; find a mentor with whom we can accommodate weekly or during slightest regularly. Students mostly assume usually diseased writers need tutors, yet many of my best students use a essay core to rise and correct their work. As an undergrad, we frequently consulted tutors—even while we served as a mentor myself. It finished a outrageous difference.

Maria Chávez

Image: Maria Chvez

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science, Pacific Lutheran University

You go – don’t internalize others’ views of you

Believe in yourself! Make goals. Work hard. And be focused. There will be many people who will doubt your participation on a college campus. From a professors to your associate students, there will be many who will let we know in a accumulation of ways that we do not belong. Do not internalize their unnoticed rancour or extremist or sexist views and actions. Ever. It won’t always be easy, yet find a approach to cope—cry when we need to, find bargain allies, repel to your round of support, yet do not concede others’ attitudes and actions to derail we or your goals. Own a right to have a place in an sourroundings that is not prepared for us. What universities need now some-more than ever are non-traditional views and we, as Latinos in a U.S. who have gifted many oppression, have this. Live from a corazon, be yourself, and remember there are millions of Latinos around a nation who need we to attain as many as we do!

Roberto G. Gonzales

Image: Roberto G. Gonzales

Assistant Professor

Department of Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

You’ve warranted it – possess it, and get involved

You belong. Your tough work and your parents’ sacrifices have warranted we a place during your institution. College competence be opposite from your high propagandize or your village behind home, and it competence need some adjustments on your part. But this doesn’t meant that a problem is you. Everyone around we is perplexing to figure out their place in their new surroundings. Get involved. Find clubs and activities that compare your interests and we will shortly find yourself in a association of others who like and do a same things. There is no unaccompanied college experience, yet we can emanate one that allows we to feel right during home.

David Leal

Image: David Leal


Department of Government, University of Texas during Austin

Your Latino trust can be a teachable moment

Keep in mind that some people competence try to tell we what it means to be Latino, yet this is for we to decide. For instance, your family competence have lived in a U.S. for several generations, yet if your final name is Hernandez, some classmates and others will assume we were innate abroad or design we to be smooth in Spanish. If they learn this is not true, they competence be confused and confirm we are not an ‘authentic’ Latino. The same can request to a Mexican-born Spanish orator with a final name of Smith. You competence select to see these as ‘teachable moments’ — chances to plead a farrago of Latino communities and a long-standing Latino participation in America.

Jessica Lavariega Monforti

Image:Jessica Lavariega Monforti

Professor and Chair

Department of Political Science, Pace University

Learn how to conduct your time

Remember that time government is everything! Plan ahead…put deadlines in your calendar and work retrograde from those deadlines.

You need time for difficulty and studying, socializing, a day work…but we also need down time. Take caring of yourself! Sleep and relax regularly.

Celeste Montoya

Image: Celeste Montoya

Associate Professor

Departments of Women and Gender Studies Political Science, University of Colorado Boulder

Get to know your teachers, and uncover them we care

Make certain your highbrow knows your name, and associates it with something good. Stop by during bureau hours before a initial examination or an assignment deadline. Ask questions in difficulty that denote you’re informed with a march material. I’m always peaceful to go a additional mile for students who uncover they caring about doing good in a march from a beginning, rather than a week before grades are due.

Adrian Pantoja

Image: Adrian Pantoja


Department of Political Studies/Chicano Studies, Pitzer College

Forget stereotypes, carve your trail and find mentors

The university is a transformative experience. Here is your possibility to be whoever we wish to be. Embrace that change. Break stereotypes and don’t let yourself be boxed into a certain difficulty or demographic. In other words, since we are Latino, don’t feel like we have to join X, or take this class, or have this advisor, or hangout with this organisation of students, and so forth. Carve your possess path.

Mentors can be found via a university. Open yourself adult to being mentored and guided by opposite people. If we don’t ask for help, we are doubtful to accept it. Have lunch with your professors and see them during bureau hours. Remember, we are not alone in this journey.

“Life should not be a tour to a grave with a goal of nearing safely in a flattering and good recorded body, yet rather to movement in handbill in a cloud of smoke, entirely used up, totally ragged out, and aloud proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson.

Tomás F. Summers Sandoval, Jr.

Image: Toms F. Summers Sandoval, Jr.

Associate Professor

Departments of History and Chicana/o Latina/o Studies, Pomona College

Don’t usually pursue interests – take time to learn what we competence love

College isn’t usually a possibility to pursue your passions, it’s a place to learn them. Use that opportunity. Even if we consider we know what we wish to study, take a far-reaching accumulation of classes in your initial year. Be open, explore, and suffer a highway to anticipating who we are.

Unlike high school, when many of your day was scheduled, college seems like a lot of “free” time. It’s not, of course, that’s a time when we do many of your training (reading, writing, problem solving, labs, etc.). Your success will count on your ability in organizing that time. Pick an organizational plan and hang with it. Be courteous to when we get your best work finished and when your physique would rather be resting.

Ali A. Valenzuela

Image: Ali A. Valenzuela

Assistant Professor

Departments of Politics and Latino Studies, Princeton University

Believe we go in your college, find tiny communities with common interests

When selecting classes, nonetheless it’s good to try new interests, commend that college will pull your comfort section no matter what subjects we pick. So if we collect classes on subjects with that we have some familiarity, we will have a basement on that to build towards new and some-more vicious bargain of a material. Play to your strengths and learn to work smarter, not harder.

Depending on your school, we competence be one of a few—or only—Latinos in a classroom, and we competence consternation if a admissions officers finished a mistake. Never trust this! They spend a lot of time reviewing applications divided and afterwards as a organisation with all of a admissions officers together. They don’t make acknowledgment decisions though clever consideration, and they saw something in we that they believed finished we a good fit for a school. Many students feel this way, including non-Latino students, yet if we keep during it we will find your place.

On anticipating your place in college: find out smaller communities of like-minded students. This could meant fasten Latino groups, or song groups or gaming groups—whatever, it doesn’t matter what your specific interests competence be, yet it does matter that we make connectors with other students in a school. Integration into a college village is a series one predictor of tyro diligence (graduating!) so make a large bid to find a place(s) where we feel many gentle within a incomparable college or university community.

Chris Zepeda-Millán

Image: Chris Zepeda-Milln

Assistant Professor

Ethnic Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley

Learn about other cultures, possess who we are, take a fun class

Remember we go there and where we came from! My initial division of college was a initial time someone told me that we had an accent. People pronounced we sounded like all from “Cheech from Cheech and Chong” to “a squad banger.” This finished me feel unequivocally uncertain and broke to pronounce in class, where a infancy of students were always white. Later on (after holding a Chicano Studies class), we schooled to be unapproachable of my accent and wear it as a badge of respect that represented my family and community. we went on to be a tip graduating comparison in my vital (political science) and acquire a Ph.D. in Government from an Ivy League university (Cornell). Today, when people accommodate and hear me speak, we know that a subsequent time they hear an “East L.A. accent” they’ll twice about who a chairman they’re listening to is.

Take an Ethnic Studies course! Many students of tone come from rarely segregated, majority-minority neighborhoods. This means that they’ve never indeed lived or spent immeasurable amounts time in places where everybody looks and sounds opposite than them. Taking an Ethnic Studies march isn’t usually a ideal approach to accommodate other students with identical backgrounds who will assistance them feel reduction removed on campus, yet a calm of these courses are also good ways to learn how to navigate and know issues associated to race, class, gender, and sexuality that will fundamentally arise both in and out of a classroom.

Go to Office Hours! I’ve beheld that a lot of minority students trust that attending bureau hours will make a professors consider they’re not eccentric or profitable courtesy in difficulty and need additional help. Yet zero could be serve from a truth! While bureau hours is a ideal time to get questions about a readings or lectures clarified, they’re also a good approach to share with professors what you’re anticipating engaging or severe about a class. It’s also a good approach to get mentors and build long-term relations with professors who students will eventually need letters of recommendations from.

Try to take Fun Classes your initial semester! A lot of times students who are use to holding 5-6 classes in high propagandize (including math and scholarship courses) consider they’re approaching to do a same their initial year of college. we consider this is a mistake. If possible, students should take classes about topics they’re meddlesome in that will motivate them to learn a reading and essay skills they’ll need to tarry college. Once they’ve finished this, afterwards they’ll be means to take on and change those some-more formidable math and scholarship requirements.

Take advantage of a Free Writing Tutors! Having a right answer or a intelligent thought doesn’t matter if we cant transparent it in a transparent and obvious manner. Everyone’s essay can always be improved, generally those of us who English was not a initial language. I’m a well-published highbrow and we still always get feedback on my essay from friends and editors (whose services we compensate for!). So take advantage of your university’s essay centers/tutors, your professors will conclude it and your grades will simulate this additional effort!

Christina Bejarano

Associate Professor

Political Science Department, University of Kansas

Use a difficulty synopsis to stay orderly and on track

Your difficulty synopsis is essential to staying on-track with your march requirements. It helps we stay orderly so that we don’t forget vicious dates or pieces of information. we also inspire articulate to your professors and seeking out friends in any class, don’t bashful divided from seeking for assistance or support.

Stephen A. Nuño is an Associate Professor in a Department of Politics and International Affairs during Northern Arizona University. Stephen is a unapproachable local of Los Angeles, and has a B.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from UC Irvine in Political Science. Follow Stephen on Twitter: @stephenanuno

Follow NBC News Latino on Facebook and Twitter

More chair ...

› tags: accent chair /