April 12, 2022

Imposter Syndrome and Students of Color

By Rebecca Grim, Peer Career Consultant

Many U.S. college and university students experience “impostor syndrome”.

What is impostor syndrome”?

How do I know I have it?

Most students have experienced impostor syndrome at one time or another. However, studies have shown that students of color may experience micro-aggressions, racial discrimination, and feel underrepresented. In turn, these students may experience impostor syndrome at a higher rate that White college students. This may impede their academic achievements and accomplishments.

While the rigors of academic programs present challenges to all students, additional obstacles minority students encounter may add layers to academic progress. The other challenges students of color endure may make them more at-risk to impostor syndrome than traditional White students.

 Students with Impostor Syndrome

  • Question the validity of their academic achievements
  • Feel unworthy of their professional accomplishments
  • Feel like a “fraud” and that they do not belong in higher education

Impostor syndrome can Lead to:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Student Success impediments

Ways to Combat Impostor Syndrome

  • Build a community of family, friends and loved ones to stay connected to
  • Join associations and engage in activities that provide social support for minority students
  • Find a mentor and mentor others
  • Read books, listen to podcasts that uplift people of color
  • Take the time to appreciate your big and small achievements

Even the most accomplished students experience impostor syndrome! Take Action Now!

Additional Resources

How Students of Color Confront Impostor Syndrome

You Belong in the Room – Exploring Impostor Syndrome from a Black Perspective

Black Scholarships

Office of Black Student Affairs – The Claremont Colleges Services