If practice is what an athlete needs to perfect his performance, is studying what a student needs to gain academic success? Most would agree good study habits can help students retain important information better and help them to do well academically. But does one’s study skills in high school have an impact on how long it takes them to finish their college degree, or does being social with college classmates set students up for long-term success?
A study published in 2011 from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, links studious behaviors with degree completion and overall success. It compared students from the high school graduating classes of 2010 and 2011 on their note taking, hours per week spent studying and class punctuality. All of those behaviors increased in high school seniors from 2010 to 2011, which the study claimed makes the college class of 2015 more likely to graduate on time.
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Joshua Klugman, who has an interest in the sociology of education, offered his insight on the study’s findings.
“College students coming in with more academic behaviors is not new,” Klugman said. “From the ‘80s, high school students have been beefing up their academic preparation.”
“Increase from 2009-11 is a very small percentage, probably professors are not going to be able to detect in their average daily lives,” Klugman added.
The study showed up-ticks in studious behavior from 2010 to 2011 ranging from 2 percent to 4 percent.
Talking with one another about course material outside of the classroom is another behavior cited on the study that linked students to better academic success.
The upward spikes in studious behavior by the high school graduates of 2011 may not transfer to college, however, since the study only indicated a trend in high school seniors and the possibilities that can occur from that trend based on research.
Many upperclassmen said that as they got older, extra-curricular activities like jobs and internships cut into their study time.
“The upperclassmen are more involved in the outside world instead of being controlled by their studies,” Klugman said. “Having to work full time and go to school full time is a little more difficult when you have to balance the two.”
Though the data in the study proved the 2011 high school seniors to have academically oriented behaviors, increased AP test scores and studied more than the Class of 2010, the reason behind the trend is still foggy.
A possibility for the increase in good academic behaviors is that college admissions get more competitive each year. The Fall 2011 Temple freshman average high school GPA was 3.42, SAT scores were in the middle 50 percentile, and average ACT scores were around 24.
Better job outlooks has been the No. 1 reason for attending college for high school seniors since 2009. In 2011, approximately 85 percent of incoming freshmen cited that as their reasoning to attend college, according to the UCLA study. Similarly, Main Campus freshmen provided a better job as a response for why they had wanted to attend college when asked.
This data and the increase in studious behavior gives rise to the question of whether the recession had an impact on 2011 seniors’ academic behavior because they felt a strong desire to go to college.
“Basically, all states have seen increases in [bachelor’s degree] attainment, but states with more of this academic preparation are not more likely to have higher post-graduate wages,” Klugman said.
“Just because they have said they have done more stuff in high school does not mean they are going to do better once out in the labor market,” he added. “There are so many other factors. I am positive that there is not going to be a substantial difference in how [the graduating classes of 2014 and 2015] do post-college.”