Entering and Succeeding in the "Culture of College": The Story of Two Mexican Heritage Students

Nolan L. Cabrera, Amado M. Padilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


In this retrospective study, the academic resilience of two individuals of Mexican heritage who graduated from Stanford University is described. The respondents (a woman and a man) now in their early 20s came from home backgrounds of extreme impoverishment and adversity. By means of in-depth interviews the challenges the two respondents faced in school beginning in kindergarten and continuing through their graduation from Stanford is described. Both respondents attribute their academic success to the support given them by their mothers and their personal motivation to succeed in school; however, the authors show that this was also possible because the respondents acquired knowledge of the "culture of college" that is essential for the transition from high school to college. The authors describe the processes of this information transmission and how even though it changed the life of their respondents, it has not altered the life of their family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-170
Number of pages19
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Academic achievement
  • Educational resiliency
  • Family support
  • Latino students
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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