RESEARCH LIBRARY

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Worry over one’s social belonging can contribute to racial disparities in college achievement. Historically excluded groups may feel alienated and stigmatized on college campuses, contributing to the belief that they don’t belong. Subtle events that confirm a lack of social connectedness can have large impacts on belonging. On days of high stress, black students’ (but not white students’) sense of fit in college declined. However, after an exercise that relayed the message that normalized their feelings and suggested they would dissipate with time, black students were more engaged in school, and their sense of belonging hinged less on the quality of their day. Their GPAs also improved.