This study addressed the retention of Chicana/Latina undergraduates. The problem explored was one; how these women perceive campus climate as members of a marginalized student population and two; which strategies are used to “survive the system.” As a qualitative study, this work was guided by a confluence of methods including grounded theory, phenomenology and Chicana epistemology using educational narratives as data. The analysis indicated that Chicanas/Latinas do maintain a sense of being “Other” throughout their college experiences and this self-identity is perceived as a “survival strategy” while attending a mainstream campus. Further analysis also showed that Chicanas/Latinas begin their college careers with social/cultural capital and is used as a fluid source of support during their stay at the university.

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