Over the weekend I was chatting with some friends about the need for mentoring programs for young Africans. I was taken back to the time when I was part of a forum on getting immigrant girls to think about college. I was assigned to a group of about six African girls and we started to explore interests and career ideas. What struck me the most was that all, but one of these girls were not sure about going to college. “How will I make college when I don’t know if I’ll finish college?” said one. This was such a different attitude from my high school days. Granted not everyone was expecting to go to college, but I’d never heard anyone say that they weren’t sure they’d make it through high school. And even most of those who didn’t make it to college were hindered mostly because of limited space and funds, but if the opportunity was available they would go to college.
With that in mind, I would like to share some excerpts from a page on African immigrants to the US, which I found on Wikipedia a couple years back. Feel free to share, feel obligated to share if you are a mentor.
Africans have the highest educational attainment rates of any immigrant group in the United States with higher levels of completion than the stereotyped Asian American model minority. It is not only the first generation that does well, as estimates indicate that a highly disproportionate percentage of black students at elite universities are African or the children of African immigrants.
In an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Journal of Blacks in higher education, African immigrants to the United States were found more likely to be college educated than any other immigrant group. African immigrants to the U.S. are also more highly educated than any other native-born ethnic group including white Americans. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is slightly more than the percentage of Asian immigrants to the U.S., nearly double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans.
In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult whites and 3.8 percent of adult blacks in the United States, respectively. This information suggests that America has an equally large achievement gap between whites and African/Asian immigrants as it does between white and black Americans.
Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 86.4% reported having a high school degree or higher, compared with 78. 9% of Asian born immigrants and 76.5% of European born immigrants, respectively. These figures contrast with 61.8% percent of the total foreign-born population.
And if you are interested in becoming a mentor for young African women, check out the Big Sister/Mentor opportunity in the MinneAfrica Job-Link section.