Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Scott C. Bates
Earning a college degree yields many benefits. In addition to an increased income, college degree earners generally have greater job satisfaction, make healthier life choices, are better communicators, and have greater social mobility. Even with all of these benefits, however, some colleges are seeing graduation rates as low as 32%. One of the greatest contributing factors affecting the dropout rate of undergraduate college students is poor academic performance in their courses. In this study, we sought to identify several academic resources, study behaviors, academic self-confidence scores, and demographic information to assess what types of behaviors and resources may lead to higher academic performance. There were 148 undergraduate student participants, out of 696 possible students (21.3%), from three sections of Introductory Psychology courses at Utah State University. They participated in a multi-phase survey to assess study habits, and resources that they used when preparing for their psychology course exams. Statistical analyses identified several significant differences between men and women, and between first generation and non-first-generation students. Women studied almost twice as much, compared to men, in terms of hours spent, and course content covered. Academically, first-generation students struggled in almost every way, compared to non-first-generation students. After identifying how the study behavior and resource variables influenced each other, we also identified which variables were the most influential on the students’ final course grades. We found that a student’s GPA (grade point average) was the most important factor, followed by their self-confidence in their academic abilities, followed by their class attendance, followed by how many hours they work outside of school. All of those variables likely affect a student’s final grade, and it is important that college students are informed about which study resources and behaviors they should utilize, to be as successful as possible.
Staheli, Matthew, "Be Cool, Stay in School: The Habits, Resources, and Confidence College Students Need to Succeed" (2018). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7058.
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