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Impact of Culture on Motivation

Exploration of post-secondary options are presented in ways in which students explore their own motivations and consider cultural ways of being.  Lasting motivation is personal and deeply connected to culture and family. We avoid assuming the motivations and priorities of prevailing school culture when presenting post-secondary information and career exploration.

Not Yet

Presentation of college and career exploration assumes and asserts certain values, typically those deeply rooted in the American Ideals of individualism and capitalism 


Students are presented with lots of options and are encouraged to choose the “right fit” for their own goals, but there are not planned activities that guide students through their own self-reflection or exploration of how their culture and family background may influence 

We Got This!

Students are guided through questions to help them explore their own motivations and goals for post-secondary.  An attempt is made to help students think through their own family and cultural values and how these may influence their motivations andchoices. 



Our cultural experiences impact our goals and motivations for our post-secondary plans.  Educators whose own cultural background aligns well with the school culture can unintentionally assume and project these onto students.  In career exploration, the American values of independence, financial gain, and status are often assumed to rank high.  These become an assumed priority for all students; information on careers and post-secondary options are often presented through these lenses. When interviewed, Indigenous college students often include community and family as both a motivator and obligation. When students are guided through exercises to help them identify their own motivations and priorities, they are more informed to make choices for themselves.  Guidance that acknowledges the influence of culture can further help students tap into motivation and post-secondary goals that support college persistence.

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AI/AN college students interviewed by Guillory and Wolverton (2008) listed family and giving back to their tribal communities as the top two factors contributing to their persistence. “A college education meant more than just a means to obtaining a career and financial independence; for these students it was an instrument to combat deleterious conditions back home” (Guillory & Wolverton 2008 p. 75).

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