Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
academic, achievement, challenges, integration, retention, economic integration
As Somali refugees arrive in the United States, their unique culture and religion has become a challenge for academic institutions unaware of how to accommodate these new students with unique academic needs and social status. This study aims to identify the factors influencing the academic success of Somali graduate students and explore ways the Somali graduate students overcome the academic challenges. This phenomenological study analyzed the experiences and perceptions of ten Somali graduate students in the Midwest universities. Participants were either foreign born or second-generation born Americans. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews aimed at identifying challenges in the academic environment, and the ways the participants overcame their unique academic challenges. This study revealed that the primary factors affecting their academic success are in the presence of/or absence of inclusions academic environments, socioeconomic status, level of family obligation, levels of resilience, and encountering racism. These students overcame academic challenges by taking un-Islamic financial assistance, prioritizing English language learning, relying on family/spousal support, making connections with faculty, and forming ethnically homogenous academic support groups. Somali students have a plethora of academic factors affecting their success, most of which are common to more minority students in America. The ways these students deal with those academic challenges are unique to first-generation Somalis, especially concerning the paramount cultural and religious values around the importance of education which was the main source of academic motivation. Future research for Somali graduate students should be focused on what separates them from others in their same ethnic group who do not go to college.
Keywords: academic, achievement, challenges, integration, retention, economic integration
Rage, Tajir, "What Factors Influence the Academic Success of Somali Graduate Students?" (2023). Culminating Projects in TESL. 45.