The findings in this report illustrate the importance of monitoring students’ attitudes and behaviors and following up with appropriate services in order to help more of them complete their coursework and succeed in college.
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Iowa City, Ia. (PRWEB) May 21, 2012
Even as colleges strive to increase their students’ success and completion rates, the self-reported attitudes of undergraduates nationwide show that cultivating many of the key habits of college success—including long hours of reading, studying hard, and taking careful notes in classes—may be a bigger challenge for male students than it is for their female counterparts. According to a study by the higher education consulting firm Noel-Levitz, male college freshmen tend to be less likely than females to enjoy reading, to study hard, and to take careful notes in class.
The seventh annual study examined student attitudes that may pose barriers and opportunities for students as they begin college. For example, when asked, only 38 percent of male freshmen nationally in 2011-2012 indicated their agreement with the statement, “I get a great deal of personal satisfaction from reading” and only 53 percent indicated their agreement with the statement, “I take very careful notes during class, and I review them thoroughly before a test.”
In addition, only 53 percent indicated their agreement with the statement, “I study very hard for all my courses, even those I don’t like.” On these same statements, the responses of females were 14 to 20 percentage points higher.
“The differences between male and female attitudes among first-year students is striking,” said Lewis Sanborne, Ph.D., an executive consultant for Noel-Levitz and a former dean at St. Ambrose University. “In this time of heightened concern about college completion rates, it is important to identify the needs of specific student populations such as males in order to further target interventions aimed at influencing goal attainment.”
The study also dissected the perspectives of additional subpopulations of freshmen, noting:
- Adult, non-traditional-age freshmen expressed a stronger desire than traditional-age freshmen to receive individual help with improving their math and writing skills;
- Hispanic freshmen indicated that they were more willing to make sacrifices to achieve their educational goals than were freshmen from other racial/ethnic groups, but reported that they had a weaker understanding of the physical sciences;
- Students from private and public four-year institutions brought the strongest desire and determination to finish college, followed by students from private and public two-year institutions.
The study also looked at changes in student attitudes that affect academic success as students progressed through their classes, comparing attitudes at the beginning vs. the middle of the freshman year. Among these findings:
- Freshmen, as a whole, appear to become more tolerant of others’ opinions after half a year of college, with 60 percent agreeing with the statement, “I get along well with people who disagree with my opinion openly” at the beginning of the year vs. 66 to 71 percent at the middle of the year;
- Freshmen’s desire to receive tutoring in one or more courses fell just 3 to 7 percentage points between the beginning of the year compared to the middle of the year, with 32 percent to 46 percent of students continuing to want this assistance at mid-year.
In addition, an examination of changes in freshman attitudes between the beginning vs. the middle of the freshman year showed that many freshmen who expressed interest in receiving assistance with career planning at the beginning of the academic year had not received it yet at mid-year.
“The findings in this report illustrate the importance of monitoring students’ attitudes and behaviors and following up with appropriate services in order to help more of them complete their coursework and succeed in college,” said Sanborne. “When students are receptive to assistance and open to the opinions of others, colleges have a real opportunity to make a difference. Generally speaking, the higher the receptivity to institutional help, the greater the likelihood of successful student outcomes.”
The Noel-Levitz study is titled 2012 National Freshman Attitudes Report. For a full copy of the report, based on more than 94,000 student records from 315 colleges and universities, visit http://www.noellevitz.com/FreshmanReport.
Noel-Levitz has consulted with more than 2,700 public and private colleges and universities across North America, helping these campuses and systems reach and exceed their goals for student recruitment, financial aid, student retention and completion, and strategic enrollment management. In addition, Noel-Levitz convenes events attended by more than 5,000 educators each year and produces reports, papers, and columns to help campus leaders analyze current enrollment trends and discover more effective strategies.