Keys To College Students' Success Often Overlooked, Report Says

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colleges should examine a wider set of social, economic and personal characteristics to determine how they can help students remain in school and graduate, a new report has found.

Aside from SAT scores and high school grade point averages, students' success in college relies on a number of other factors โ€” often overlooked โ€” that more accurately predict whether they will stay in school, according to the report scheduled for release Tuesday by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

Using information from a national survey of college freshmen in public and private institutions as well as graduation data, the report found, for example, that students who visit a college before enrolling, participate in clubs and other activities and those who have used the Internet for research and homework are more likely to complete a degree earlier than others. The costs of attending a college and the institution's size also contribute to students' success, the report found.

Overall graduation rates are up from a decade ago โ€” nearly four in 10 students (39%) graduate in four years today compared to 36% of students who started college in 1994, the report showed. But 56.4% of students now take five years to graduate.

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