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What sets college thrivers and divers apart? A contrast in study habits, attitudes, and mental health

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Listed:
  • Beattie, Graham
  • Laliberté, Jean-William P.
  • Michaud-Leclerc, Catherine
  • Oreopoulos, Philip

Abstract

Using a mandatory survey with open-ended questions asking students about their first-year university experience, we explore what particular behaviors, study habits and overall experiences early in college distinguish students who do very well in college (Thrivers) from those who struggle greatly (Divers). We find that poor time management and very little time spent studying are most associated with poor academic performance. Divers also report feeling more depressed and unhappy with their lives. Both Thrivers and Divers arrive with high aspirations, but Divers consistently fall short of their own study expectations. These patterns suggest that very poor performing college students are not happily trading off academic performance for more preferable activities, and that increasing the amount of time students spend trying to learn may be an important necessary condition for improving achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Beattie, Graham & Laliberté, Jean-William P. & Michaud-Leclerc, Catherine & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2019. "What sets college thrivers and divers apart? A contrast in study habits, attitudes, and mental health," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 50-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:178:y:2019:i:c:p:50-53
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2018.12.026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Metcalfe & Simon Burgess and Steven Proud, 2011. "Student effort and educational attainment: Using the England football team to identify the education production function," Economics Series Working Papers 586, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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    5. Massimiliano Bratti & Stefano Staffolani, 2013. "Student Time Allocation and Educational Production Functions," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 103-140.
    6. Jason M. Lindo & Isaac D. Swensen & Glen R. Waddell, 2012. "Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 254-274, October.
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    8. Philip Oreopoulos & Uros Petronijevic, 2018. "Student Coaching: How Far Can Technology Go?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 299-329.
    9. Beattie, Graham & Laliberté, Jean-William P. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2018. "Thrivers and divers: Using non-academic measures to predict college success and failure," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 170-182.
    10. repec:adr:anecst:y:2013:i:111-112:p:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Stephen E. Childs & Ross Finnie & Felice Martinello, 2017. "Postsecondary Student Persistence and Pathways: Evidence From the YITS-A in Canada," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(3), pages 270-294, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pugatch, Todd & Wilson, Nicholas, 2018. "Nudging study habits: A field experiment on peer tutoring in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 151-161.
    2. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2019. "What Limits College Success? A Review and Further Analysis of Holzer and Baum's 'Making College Work'," IZA Policy Papers 150, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Adam M. Lavecchia & Philip Oreopoulos & Robert S. Brown, 2020. "Long-Run Effects from Comprehensive Student Support: Evidence from Pathways to Education," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 209-224, June.
    4. Richard L. Wallace & Jess Greenburg & Susan G. Clark, 2020. "Confronting anxiety and despair in environmental studies and sciences: an analysis and guide for students and faculty," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 10(2), pages 148-155, June.
    5. Oreopoulos, Philip & Petronijevic, Uros & Logel, Christine & Beattie, Graham, 2020. "Improving non-academic student outcomes using online and text-message coaching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 342-360.
    6. Beattie, Graham & Laliberté, Jean-William P. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2018. "Thrivers and divers: Using non-academic measures to predict college success and failure," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 170-182.
    7. Oreopoulos, Philip & Petronijevic, Uros, 2019. "The Remarkable Unresponsiveness of College Students to Nudging and What We Can Learn from It," IZA Discussion Papers 12460, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Chux Gervase Iwu, 2020. "Socioeconomic Implications of Examination Fraud and Assessment Irregularities in South Africa’s Higher Education Sector: A Futuristic View," Journal of Social and Development Sciences, AMH International, vol. 10(3), pages 39-46.
    9. Rachel Baker & Brent Evans & Qiujie Li & Bianca Cung, 2019. "Does Inducing Students to Schedule Lecture Watching in Online Classes Improve Their Academic Performance? An Experimental Analysis of a Time Management Intervention," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 60(4), pages 521-552, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of education; Non-cognitive skills; Academic trap;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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