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Study Shows Connection Between Latina Sorority Membership and Successful College Adjustment
Sorority involvement shown to improve high school to college transition

March 30, 2006 :: No. 189

Gina Garcia knew her time spent in a Latina sorority had a positive impact on her adjustment to college and believed others shared similar feelings. Still, she didn’t have a way to prove it.

Until now.

Garcia, a student and retention coordinator at Cal State Fullerton, conducted a study that found that Latina women who belong to Latina sororities more easily complete the transition from high school to college than nonmembers of sororities.

“They were significantly more adjusted, specifically, more adjusted socially and in relation to their commitment to the institution,” Garcia said of the sorority members in the study, which was completed as her graduate thesis last May at the University of Maryland.

Garcia, who presented her findings last week at the ACPA College Student Educators International annual convention, said Latinas in Latina sororities generally felt more satisfied with their social life and extracurricular activities, fit in better with their social groups and cared more about their campus community than women who weren’t members of Latina sororities.   

Garcia noted, however, that sorority membership was not significantly related to a student’s ability to adjust academically and emotionally to university life.
For the study, Garcia surveyed 314 college students from across the county – 183 Latina sorority members and 131 nonmembers – through a Web-based questionnaire.

“The implication is that membership [in a sorority] can help these women adjust to the campus, and research says, ultimately, that could lead to whether or not they graduate,” she said.

Garcia’s interest in this area stems largely from her own experiences as a member of Lamba Theta Alpha, a Latina sorority, during her studies at the University of Maryland. Lamba Theta Alpha has a chapter at Cal State Fullerton, and the campus is also home to a pair of coed Latino fraternities — Delta Sigma Chi and Lamba Sigma Chi.

Garcia said she hopes to one day expand on her research.

“The multicultural Greek movement is booming,” she said. “There’s a very minimal amount of literature on the subject, and I’d like to get some information out there.

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Media  Contacts: Gina Garcia, Office of the Dean of Students, 657-278-2266 or ginagarcia@fullerton.edu
Robby Nisenfeld, Public Affairs, 657-278-3798 or rnisenfeld@fullerton.edu.


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