"College Services, Sense of Belonging, and Friendships: The Enduring Importance of the High School Context"
The current study positions high school relationships and resources as assets to college-going Latinx students, examining the potential academic benefits of maintaining high school friendships and participating in support services offered from the high school context. The participants were 165 graduates (86.4% Latinx; 75.6% low-income) from a high school that operates an Alumni Success program delivering college support services to alumni. Interval regressions with moderation tests were used to investigate associations between a college GPA outcome and (a) sense of belonging and (b) friend group composition. The findings suggest friendships from the high school context may promote academic success for students with low sense of belonging in two-year colleges. Contrary to studies of predominately white students, high school friendships appear to have an enduring association with academic achievement. Next, t-tests and proportional equivalence z-tests were used to investigate differences between students who utilized the Alumni Success program and those who did not, and further, how these differences compared to other types of college-based support services. The results suggest providing college support services from the high school context may be an effective, culturally responsive strategy that complements existing college-based programs and recognizes diverse pathways to college success for Latinx students.