Extant definitions of college success largely focus on macro-level academic outcomes including academic achievement, retention, and persistence, which are linked to a limited set of indicators achievable by students including high grade averages, extra-curricular involvement, and leadership that denote a successful college student. These normative ideas of college success sustain ideologies that dismiss the multiplicity of ways students experience success in college and most importantly, they define who can and cannot be characterized as a successful college student. Relatedly, the dominant narrative of college success frames historically underrepresented college students (e.g. first-generation, low-income, students of color) as deficient and as less likely to be successful, even though these students consistently have to overcome greater adversity during their college trajectories and consequently experience many victories that are not legitimized as a success. Therefore, the purpose of this manuscript is to propose a more inclusive definition of the term college success that accounts for the diverse realities of students historically underrepresented and reveals the direct connection between student success and institutional success. Authors draw evidence from two research studies to illustrate their proposed definition of college success and provide implications for research, practice, and policy.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Delma Ramos, Brenda Sifuentez