African American Student Network participants have shown higher rates of retention and graduation than their counterparts even after taking into account academic factors. To understand other ways these students might differ from Black students on campus, we used social network analysis to explore whether there were significant differences in demographic composition and frequency of contact with alters/connections in the ego networks of 32 African American Student Network participants and 193 other Black students at the same university. Results indicated that African American Student Network participants had more alters/connections overall and higher percentages of same race, same gender, and same university connections than their counterparts. These students also listed more females in their networks. There was no difference in ratio of family members or males in ego networks and no difference in frequency of contact with alters/connections in ego networks across groups. These results have implications for the importance of same race and same gender connections as protective factors that may facilitate social integration and educational outcomes for African American students, particularly at predominantly White institutions.
- Black students on predominantly White campus
- academic achievement
- college students
- social networks