Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of College Student Retention


As the country's racial/ethnic minority representation increases, colleges and universities have increasingly sought to diversify their enrollments in order to better prepare all students to live and work in a diverse democracy. However, diversification may negatively affect campus climate and undergraduate peer relations leading to both increased racial tensions and to lower levels of satisfaction and retention for both minority and majority students. This study examined the effects of students; entry characteristics, pre-college environments, and pre-college activities on 3 democratic outcomes that serve as potential indicators of new undergraduate students; readiness to positively engage with diversity: social change self-efficacy, social action engagement, and social leadership skills. Data were collected from 1 of 10 public universities that participated in a 2001 national study that investigated how diversity helps shape students' attitudes and beliefs. The results indicate that students who are more engaged with diversity prior to college are more likely to perceive themselves as ready to proactively engage with diversity as college students.