Latina/o Adolescents in an Emerging Immigrant Community: A Qualitative Exploration of their Future Goals
AbstractAlthough immigrant adolescents typically have high hopes for their futures, educational and career outcomes often do not match aspirations. The future aspirations of 17 Latina/o adolescents in an emerging immigrant community were explored. Qualitative interviews were conducted and analyzed using consensual qualitative research methodology (CQR). Interviews focused on goals for education/career and supports and barriers to reaching those goals. Overall, students expressed high aspirations but were unclear on how to achieve them. Family members and school personnel were seen as supportive, but with limitations. Barriers mentioned by most participants included early pregnancy, finances, and circumstances beyond their control; they declined to endorse other barriers when prompted. Students also held less optimistic views of the educational and career possibilities of an “average” Latina/o/a as compared to their own goals, which is framed in terms of stereotypes. A clear theme emerged where students placed the primary responsibility for their success or failure on themselves without acknowledging many barriers in the environment. Findings are discussed from a social justice point of view with implications that pertain to provision of college planning information, context for applying it, affective support, and systemic advocacy.
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