COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELORS AND UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS: A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON MULTICULTURAL COMPETENCIES

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Date
2018-04-13
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Publisher
Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
The Maryland In-state Tuition Referendum (Maryland Dream Act) was signed into law in 2012. Since then, colleges in Maryland have seen an increase in undocumented student enrollment (Hunter-Cevera, 2015). There is a dearth of literature as to how college admissions offices train their staff to recruit undocumented students. This study aims to understand the effects of professional development on admissions counselors’ multicultural competence in working with the undocumented student population. After completing a one-day, four-hour training, which included a didactic lecture, role-playing, and guest speakers, the difference in admission counselors’ multicultural awareness, knowledge, and terminology of undocumented students was compared. Additionally, focus groups were conducted to gather qualitative data. Results indicated a 16% increase in the overall mean of the multicultural competence measure when compared to the pre-survey. Further quantitative analysis indicated multicultural knowledge and awareness had a statistically significant change in mean, while multicultural terminology did not. The qualitative data suggested participants were more aware of undocumented students’ experiences in the United States and gained clarity on policies affecting undocumented students in higher education. Participants also wanted more guidance on how to navigate conversations with undocumented students to avoid microaggressions and embrace the counselor role. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
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Keywords
College admissions, undocumented students, multicultural competencies
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