Does Social Involvement Enhance the College Experience

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Does Social Involvement Enhance the College Experience?
Sha’Vonda Jones
Wesleyan College
December 4, 2012
Introduction:
Social involvement is the means of being involved in things on campus whether it is socially or academically. The means of being socially involved can account for any form of extracurricular engagements outside of the classroom. Social involvement can also mean the same thing as student engagement within an academic setting. “Student engagement represents both the time and energy students invest in educationally purposeful activities and the effort institutions devote to using effective educational practices to induce students to doing the right things (Kuh et al. 2007).” “The concepts of student engagement are all based on the premise that learning in college is related to how students spend their time and energy (Kuh 2003).” “Student engagement is positively related to learning outcomes, academic achievement, and student success broadly defined (Pike et al. 2009).” There are many variables to student engagement that can benefit the college experience. Student engagement can be defined in activities consisting of academic effort, higher order thinking skills, academic integration, active and collaborative learning, interaction with faculty members, and diversity-related experiences. Participation in student engagement activities will be positively linked to the differences in students’ college experiences and learning outcomes. “Learning requires both active participation in a variety of academic and social activities and integration of these diverse experiences into a meaningful whole (Kuh, Pike. 2005).” Past research studies point to the positive influences of student engagement in educationally purposeful activities on learning. “Academic and social engagement, along with integration are presumed to affect learning and intellectual development directly (Kuh, Pike. 2005).” The students’ perception of the college environment may also be beneficial as a source of influence on learning and intellectual development. This helps because perceptions of the environment can relate to academic and social engagement. “Perceiving the environment to be positive would lead to greater and social academic engagement, and at the same time engagement would produce positive perceptions of the environment (Kuh, Pike. 2005).” The way that students’ view the college environment as a whole will enhance the ability of them wanting to gain more knowledge in learning and the development of being socially involved in activities around campus. Despite numerous studies of the relationship between student engagement and the results from the National Survey of Student Engagement, not much is known about the context and the most beneficial ways of student engagement socially in the college experience. With this being said, the current research that is being examined is determining whether there is a common ground between the enhancement of social involvement or student engagement and the college experience. The overall aspect of the social involvement includes participating in sports, clubs, leadership roles, and any other extracurricular activities outside of just being prepared academically. The expectation of a college experience can be determined within the amount of socially engaged activities that a student may participate in. Background:

Student engagement is already known to be the devotion of students into educationally activities. The act of being engaged adds to the foundation of skills and dispositions that are essential to live in a productive satisfying life after college. “Students who are involved in educationally productive activities in college are developing habits of the mind and heart that enlarge their capacity for continuous learning and personal development (Kuh 2003).” Previous studies have found that such approaches of student engagement are linked with positive behaviors as increased academic effort...
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