Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Hidden Benefits of Dorm Life

Richard Florida has a post on some interesting correlations between where college students live and their graduation rates and grade point averages:

Over at the comurb mailing list. Ohio State university sociologist, Kent Schwirian summarizes the results of an OSU study of the relationship between where students live and their grade point average and the time they take to graduate.

Percent graduating in four years:

  • Walking distance 60.8%
  • Near campus 47.5%
  • Rest of county 36.7%
  • Outside of county 21.1%

Grade point average:

  • Residence hall 3.33
  • Walking distance 3.16
  • Near campus 3.12
  • Rest of county 2.97
  • Outside of county 2.94

Wow: Those are pretty strong patterns. Anyone out there want to speculate on the factors that might lie behind this.

It seems like there are several possible explanations for what is going on here:

  1. Those who live on campus are more likely to be subsidized by their parents who are giving them additional motivation to do well and graduate on time.
  2. Part-time students and students who work or have familiies will be much more likely to live off campus. These factors will tend to prolong the time it takes to graduate and lower GPA.
  3. Living on campus makes it much easier to visit professors, go to the library, and participate in study groups.
  4. Dorm life is less comfortable than most life off of campus. This gives students extra incentive to finish school sooner.
  5. If a student who live outside of the state or outside of the country has some kind of family or financial crisis, they are less able to deal with that and school than students who have faimily and homes close by.
  6. Students living on campus may be more prone to hang out with other students who are intent on graduating in four years. This may help socialize them to have similar goals and expectations.

Does anyone else have any thoughts?

1 comment:

jeremy h. said...

I would like to see the study. My guess is that the correlations are spurious.