NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Jean-William P. Laliberté

Department of Economics
University of Toronto
150 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3G7
CANADA

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2017What Sets College Thrivers and Divers Apart? A Contrast in Study Habits, Attitudes, and Mental Health
with Graham Beattie, Catherine Michaud-Leclerc, Philip Oreopoulos: w23588
Students from 4-year colleges often arrive having already done very well in high school, but by the end of first term, a wide dispersion of performance emerges, with an especially large lower tail. Students that do well in first year (we call the top 10 percent Thrivers) tend to continue to do well throughout the rest of their time in university. Students that do poorly (we call the bottom 10 percent Divers) greatly struggle and are at risk of not completing their degree. In this paper we use a mandatory survey with open ended questions asking students about their first-year experience. This allows us to explore more closely what sets Thrivers and Divers apart, in terms of study habits, attitudes, and personal experiences. We find that poor time management and lack of study hours are most ...
September 2016Thrivers and Divers: Using Non-Academic Measures to Predict College Success and Failure
with Graham Beattie, Philip Oreopoulos: w22629
We collect a comprehensive set of non-academic characteristics for a representative sample of incoming freshman to explore which measures best predict the wide variance in first-year college performance unaccounted for by past grades. We focus our attention on student outliers. Students whose first-year college average is far below expectations (divers) have a high propensity for procrastination – they self-report cramming for exams and wait longer before starting assignments. They are also considerably less conscientious than their peers. Divers are more likely to express superficial goals, hoping to 'get rich' quickly. In contrast, students who exceed expectations (thrivers) express more philanthropic goals, are purpose-driven, and are willing to study more hours per week to obtain the ...
 
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