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A person’s identity is simply who they are. Different aspects of life can shape the way you define your own identity. In their article, Kim Tsai and Andrew Fuligni explain that a person’s identity is shaped when they go off to college. Their beliefs gather that a four year college prepares students to seek their identity more so than a 2 year college. Another article, written by Silvia Santos, Anna Ortiz, Alejandro Morales, and Monica Rosales addresses identity. It correlates campus diversity with students’ ethnic identity. They ultimately argue that campus diversity allows a more powerful insight to one’s identity.
While both articles look at the way colleges influence students to explore their identities, one article believes extracurricular influence it and the other believes it is the multi diversity of the college. Both group of authors would conclude from their findings that students enrolled at four year school will be more involved in searching for their identity. Both studies hint that a sense of belonging is related to a college student’s feel of their identity. For a large number of students, campus diversity was a positive and enriching experience that fostered a greater sense of belonging and feelings of inclusion and acceptance (Santos, Morales, Ortiz and Rosales 107).
Tsai and Fuligni write, “Interactions with students from various backgrounds at diverse colleges may also promote search of and belonging to one’s own ethnic group” (58). Both authors agree that a sense of belonging is always needed in establishing your own identity. The major difference between the group of authors is their belief on the effects of going to a diverse campus and being involved in extracurricular activities. Tsai an Fuligni believe that extracurricular activities drives the student to start looking into their identity, while Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales believe that going to a diverse campus causes the students to seek their identity.
Kim Tsai and Andrew Fuligni focus their research on the fact that being involved with extracurricular activities helps strengthen emotional wellness through engaging in ethnic identity (57). The authors explain by engaging in extracurricular activities students encounter different ethnic backgrounds that illuminate differences in their culture raising ethnic identity issues. (62). The authors believe that being involved with extracurricular activities is what ignites a student into their ethnic search.
This involvement in extracurricular activities depends mostly on whether or not the student goes to a 2 year or 4 year school. A 4 year school offers more extracurricular activities than a 2 year school will. Because of this, students at 4-year colleges were engaged in greater levels of ethnic search and exhibited marginally higher levels of ethnic belonging than did students at 2-year colleges (Tsai and Fuligni 62). On the other hand Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales focus their research on campus diversity.
They write, “A diverse campus environment encouraged a more mature and evolving sense of ethnic identity in some students” (108). A student feels more comfortable having similar ethnic identities surrounding them to further explore them with their peers (Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales 108). Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales tend to develop their study more around the race aspect of the college students. They write, “The interview sample was composed of 29% White, 26% Latino, 22% African American, and 23% Asian” (106). On the other hand Tsai and Fuligni focused their ideas on what type of college the students chose and where they would be living.
Both group of authors made assumptions around these different factors that significantly affect the development of the students ethnic identity. Also, the authors used different methods of researching to find their answers. Tsai and Fuligni write, “In the 12th grade, students completed questionnaires during school that assessed various domains including identity, academic achievement, and wellbeing (59). Participants also provided their contact information, including their home address, phone number, email, and contact information of two people who would likely know their whereabouts.
The students were asked a series of questions that corresponded with their ethnic identity. Then, two years later, there was a follow up with the same students on these questions to see how their experiences changed (59). Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales used a bit of a different approach. The authors used actual college students, and the experiment was only conducted one time. They write, “Semistructured interviews were used to provide a holistic picture of the meaning of ethnic identity for students attending multiethnic universities.
The interview protocol consisted of 13 questions and related probes that tapped into the following content areas: (a) ethnic identification, (b) personal meaning of ethnicity, (c) expressions of ethnicity, (d) influences of interethnic interactions on ethnicity, and (e) socio historical forces that have impinged on ethnic identity “ (106).
One can conclude that these questions focused more directly on diversity rather than college type and involved activities. Santos, Morals, Ortiz, and Rosales conclude that campus diversity is benign in helping a student sculpt their identity, while Tsai and Fuligni believe that involvement in extracurricular activities ignites a students will to explore their ethnic identity. Both group of authors went about different ways to explore how college students interact and develop their identities.
All of them would agree that 4 year schools provide more campus diversity than a 2 year school. Furthermore, Tsai and Fuligni believe that involvement in activities outside of school sparks their insight to their identities. On the other hand, Santos, Morales, Ortiz, and Rosales believe that students who go to a college with diversity are more inclined to develop their identity.
No matter their similarities or differences though, both group of authors gave the readers a strong understanding of why college students seek their identity. Works Cited Monica Rosales, et al. “The Relationship Between Campus Diversity, Students’ Ethnic Identity And College Adjustment: A Qualitative Study. ” Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology 13. 2 (2007): 104-114. PsycARTICLES. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. Tsai, Kim M. , and Andrew J. Fuligni. “Change In Ethnic Identity Across The College Transition. ” Developmental Psychology 48. 1 (2012): 56-64. PsycARTICLES. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.