Welcome to Counseling Services' Minority Student Issues page. We recognize the importance of race, ethnicity and culture and how these factors impact the lives and functioning of individuals. Our staff is committed to honor, respect, and support students from all cultural backgrounds. We encourage you to visit the center and make an appointment.
Our ethnic, racial and cultural background greatly influences our view of the world, our attitudes and our behaviors. We bring those influences with us to the university. Here our culture may mesh well with others or they may clash. Students who consider themselves minorities or students of color on a predominantly white campus may experience issues related to their race, culture or ethnicity. In the counseling center, we can help students to understand how these factors impact their lives and functioning and how to improve their chances of managing cultural, racial or ethnic issues.
There are several issues that are common to minority students:
Prejudice and Racism: Unfortunately, students may encounter experiences that remind them that racial and ethnic hatreds still exist. Often they are hurt, frightened, angered and shocked by this realization. Counseling helps the student to give voice to these emotions and to find ways to cope with and or challenge those who have perpetrated such offenses.
Religious and Spiritual Identity--
Family Issues—Going to college and perhaps leaving home, doesn’t mean that one can leave family problems behind. Family members may still rely on some students for finances, emotional support, advice or even scapegoating. It’s difficult to help with family issues when one has an exam or paper due. Counseling can help a student learn ways to cope with family and school at the same time.
Personal and Cultural Values--
Second Language Issues--
Self-Esteem—Self-esteem among racial minorities will vary according to how much the person has allowed him or herself to accept and internalize racist or prejudicial messages. Conversely when self-esteem is extremely high it can lead to feelings of racial arrogance and denial of equality of other racial groups. Achieving a healthy level of self-esteem in the face of the racialized atmosphere of the U.S. is possible if an individual is willing to work towards that goal.
In-group/Out-group—Students often belong to a number of different groups to which they have loyalties. The minority student often has to discern which groups are most beneficial to academic and personal success and which are not. For example, sometimes their need to “hang out” with members of their own racial or cultural groups can get misconstrued as hostility to majority students.
Stereotypes—Dealing with cultural stereotypes, particularly negative ones, can be draining for a student. Stereotypes
Classism: Living with a roommate or hanging out with classmates that have a lot more or a lot less money or be of a higher or lower SES than you do can cause strain in friendships sometimes. Understanding the needs and experiences of the other can help students navigate issues of class and money.
Loneliness: It can be uncomfortable sometimes to be the only minority student in a class or in a dormitory. Some students may feel isolated or have difficulty fitting in with any particular group on campus. Students also may feel that no one quite understands them. Many students travel far from family and friends and have great difficulty handling the separation.
The staff is available to talk with you about any of these issues. We encourage you to call the center and make an appointment.
We also invite you to explore our group offerings and to utilize the following online resources.
These website links are provided for educational purposes. They offer generally accurate information from a neutral values stance. Counseling Services does not specifically endorse any of the values-based advice offered on these links. In making decisions, you are urged to seek out sources of information and wisdom that reflect your personal values as well as the religious, ethnic, and cultural traditions to which you adhere.