Collegiate Cultural Capital and Integration into the College Community

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Preventing attrition for racially minoritized, first-generation, and low SES postsecondary students continues to be a challenge despite significant efforts of educational researchers, college administrators, and high school teachers and counselors. Cultural capital (skills necessary to successfully navigate an environment) may help to explain and address this issue. Applying cultural capital and college readiness frameworks, we attempt to better understand the challenges four racially minoritized, first-generation, low-SES students face in attempting to get a "read" (understand the workings) on college. Students were in their second semester of their first year and on academic probation. Each participated in interviews and journal writing throughout one semester. Analysis revealed that cultural capital served as a foundation for reading the college environment in four key areas required for college readiness: understanding and calculating GPAs; computer literacy required for completing assignments; understanding the course listing and registration process; and finding other campus resources for addressing needs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)34 - 52
JournalCollege Student Affairs Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • cultural capital
  • college readiness

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