The Honors Difference: A Multivariate Linear Regression Analysis of the Social Influences Contributing to Academic Performance in Honors Students
The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the impact that selected social aspects of the lives of Honors students have on Honor students’ level of academic performance. Honors programs and Honors colleges are proliferating at higher-education institutions across the nation at an astonishing rate (Seifert, Pascarella, & Colangelo 2007), yet research concerning Honors students is primarily limited to findings that confirm the high academic performance of Honors students (Cosgrove 2004). Utilizing data collected via survey from a sample of student members of an Honors program (n=125) at a mid-sized rural south university, a multivariate linear regression analysis measured the influence that choice social factors had on academic performance. Among the selected social factors were level of self-esteem, Honors housing status, the strength of the sense of community within Honors, strength of identification with Honors as a group, and the level of positive experiences with professors. The findings suggest that the strength of a student’s identification with Honors, as well as a student’s level of positive experiences with professors, are important components of an Honors student’s life which contribute to overall academic success. These findings are discussed through a symbolic interactionist lens and recommendations for future research are made accordingly.
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