School Performance of College Student

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Academic Performance of College
Students: Influence of Time Spent
Studying and Working
SARATH A. NONIS
GAIL I. HUDSON
ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
JONESBORO, ARKANSAS

ABSTRACT. Today’s college students
are less prepared for college-level work
than their predecessors. Once they get to
college, they tend to spend fewer hours
studying while spending more hours working, some even full time (D. T. Smart, C. A. Kelley, & J. S. Conant, 1999). In this study,
the authors examined the effect of both
time spent studying and time spent working
on academic performance. The authors further evaluated the interaction of motivation and ability with study time and its effect on
academic performance. The results suggested that nonability variables like motivation and study time significantly interact with
ability to influence academic performance.
Contrary to popular belief, the amount of
time spent studying or at work had no
direct influence on academic performance.
The authors also addressed implications
and direction for future research.
Copyright © 2006 Heldref Publications

T

oday’s college students are spending less time studying. The fall 2003 survey conducted by the Higher
Education Research Institute at
UCLA’s Graduate School of Education
and Information Studies found that
only 34% of today’s entering freshmen
have spent six or more hours per week
outside of class on academic-related
work (e.g., doing homework, studying)
during their senior year in high school.
The sample consisted of 276,449 students at 413 of the nation’s 4-year colleges and universities (over one fourth of entering freshmen in the United
States), and the data were statistically
adjusted to reflect responses of all firsttime, full-time students entering all four-year colleges and universities as
freshmen in 2003. In fact, in 1987 when
this question was asked of entering
freshmen, 47.0% claimed they spent 6
or more hours per week studying outside of class. Since then, the time spent studying outside of class has declined
steadily each year (Higher Education
Research Institute, 2003).
Another trend that is emerging is the
increase in the number of college students who are employed either part time or full time. According to Gose (1998),
39% of college freshmen work 16 or
more hours per week, an increase of 4%
since 1993. Among all business majors,
marketing students typically work even
more hours per week than do other stu-

dents (Smart, Tomkovick, Jones, &
Menon, 1999). The 2002 survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute also found that
65.3% of entering freshmen have either
“some concern” or “major concerns”
about not having enough money to complete their college degrees (Higher Education Research Institute, 2002). This was an increase of almost 1% from
2001 and is likely to increase in the
years ahead because of reduced funding
for higher education by state legislatures. Although more women (70.9%) were concerned about whether they
would have enough funds to complete
college than were men (58.3%), all students seemed to be working out of the need to make up for rising tuition and
fewer available grants. In summary, the
proportion of college students who are
employed either part or full time is likely to increase in the years to come, leaving greater numbers of students with less time for academic work.
Students spending less time studying
and more time working are two trends
that all colleges and universities will have
to confront. Lowering academic standards by rewarding minimum effort and achievement (expecting less) is certainly
a short-term strategy, but one that will
have negative long-term consequences. A
more productive way to handle these concerns is to conduct empirical research to determine to what extent these trends will
January/February 2006

151

negatively impact the academic performance of college students and use the findings from these studies to...
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