College Students: College Involvement and Student Satisfaction

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Abstract

The researcher studied the correlation between the students’ level of participation on campus – which was measured based on the number of organizations students partook in – with their overall campus experience and satisfaction. The data was collected through a sample of several groups of college students, and the data output was measured through a Chi-Square test. The results indicated that there was no significance between the amount of clubs students partook in and their satisfaction.

Introduction: Are Students more satisfied if they’re Involved?

1) Student’s Involvement in Campus

a) Campus life plays an important role in relation to a student’s college experience. Whether or not students decide to participate in campus events and organizations could be a factor in their overall view of the university – or so it’s hypothesized. According to Hegedus (2009), more than 50% of college students will, more often than not, be involved in extracurricular activities. It’s been reported that students who regularly make use of such resources showed increased promise in the workforce and supposedly have a greater college experience overall.

i) Students not involved reported their reasons being in relation to more of an inability to participate – rather than disinterest (Hegedus, Christine, 2009. Pg. 3). Reasons for such are likely a factor of transportation, work, and so on.

ii) Around 66% of students involved reported that partaking in extracurricular activities strengthened their leadership skills – while merely 24% stated that being involved was important to them. (Hegedus, Christine, 2009. Pg. 3).

2) The Importance of Student Involvement

a) A student’s willingness to participate in college extracurricular activities can shape their interactions with peers and faculty – allowing for more opportunities to build relationships and skills within an academic environment. According to Jorgenson, “… Social and institutional aspects of connectedness appear to be interlinked, influencing one another in creating an overall feeling of connectedness.” (Pg. 81). How this theory of ‘connectedness’ links itself with success, however, could rely on several factors. Firstly, it can be assumed that students themselves are to take the initiative to pursue their own success, and that their success – whether that be social, academic, etc., acts as an influence on their overall satisfaction. It’s also imperative that the environment created by the university and its faculty supports the student on their pursuit towards success.

i) It’s assumed that participation in extracurricular activities in college heightens student’s overall experience. Furthermore, it’s been observed that a student’s self-esteem tended to depend on whether or not they had any activities to participate in outside of studying, (Collins. 2001).

ii) Research studies have shown that certain student organizations and extracurricular activities not only promote student achievement, but also increase general satisfaction with the academic experience. (Yin. 2007). As Yin also points out, however, too much involvement can lead to an unbalance – and thus cause a negative effect on a student’s overall wellbeing.

3) How to Measure Satisfaction?

a) Satisfaction, in the context of this study, is measured mostly by student perception. This perception can encompass many aspects, such as learning, relationships, housing etc. These aspects come together to form the overall environment of a college campus. Thus, when we refer to satisfaction, what we are really referring to is a student’s perception of their environment and how it has benefitted them.

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b) In regard to student involvement it can be argued, in retrospect, that whether or not students participate in activities outside of a classroom setting has little to do with their opinion on the campus as a whole. This could be related to personal factors as much as academic factors – In other words, it’s possible that students do not measure their satisfaction on factors based outside of academics as strongly as they would weigh resources that are more classroom-focused. This is where the study presents certain limitations, as most variables are centered around participation in recreational activities rather than in class. Therefore, these confounding variables could not be measured.

i) In a study based on the involvement of graduate students, the authors hypothesized that the most involved students would also be the most satisfied with their graduate school experience. Specifically, in regard to counselor education, it was believed if a student was involved in 10 or more hours of counseling-related extracurricular activities per semester, they would likely be satisfied with their graduate school experience. While the results did not show involved students were dissatisfied with their graduate school experience, the results also did not prove involvement had a positive effect on satisfaction. (Farley. 2011).

ii) As this study fails to address, the what students put into their class time contributes to a large portion of their satisfaction. The general notion is that students will get more out of college if they put more into it. If students become involved in class discussions, student activities, and residence hall programs, they will become engaged with and learn from other students and faculty. (Webber. 2013).

Methods

In the following study, a survey based off the College Students Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ; 4th edition) was randomly assigned to a sample of 250 college students in Florida Gulf Coast University. The questionnaire measured the correlation between student involvement on campus with their overall college experience and satisfaction.

Design and Procedure

In accordance to the CSEQ, students were asked a variety of questions regarding housing and transferring. Students were also asked if they participated in any clubs or organizations, and if so, then how many. At the end of the questionnaire, students evaluated the quality of their college experience in relation to multiple facets (such as administration, housing, events, programs, etc.). More importantly, students then rated their experience in college as a whole.

Study Objective and Data Collection

The purpose of the research is to test the presence of a correlation between the amounts of clubs or organizations students participate in in relation to their overall attitude towards their college experience. For the study, a classroom sample was selected from the school population. Students were randomly assigned to receive an extensive survey evaluating their college experience and attitudes. Other confounding variables, such as administration, commutes and such were measured and compared to the study’s main results. The tests put to use both nominal and ordinal type data.

Data Analysis

In order to measure the satisfaction rates of students based on the number of clubs or organizations they partake in, the test administered consisted of the Chi Square Test conducted through SPSS. The data collected from multiple variables were examined and analyzed accordingly in their relations to each other. The results indicated that a little less than half of the participants participated in extracurricular activities. We observed no significant difference between the students who attended clubs and those who did not in how satisfied they felt with their college experience. The P value (.798) was not significant and was shown to be greater than the alpha value. Through multiple runs of the study it was also confirmed that confounding variables, such as housing, grade level, and resources did not affect the results. Therefore, there is little to no statistical significance in the correlation.

Conclusion

It can be speculated through the results of the study that since the P was not statistically significant, that there is no correlation between student’s involvement in clubs or organizations and their overall campus satisfaction. These results would require further testing in regard to confounding variables such as the school’s classroom setting and approaches to academics, as well as surveying what students believe to be the greatest factor in their satisfaction – whether that be academics, relationships, recreational opportunities, and so on. These would have to be compared to the original data and cross examined for any possible significance.

References

  1. Collins R. John, Valerius Laura, King C. Teresa. (2001). the Relationship between College Students’ Self-Esteem and the Frequency and Importance of Their Participation in Recreational Activities. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.2466/pr0.1990.67.2.457
  2. Farley, K., McKee, M., & Brooks, M. (2011). The Effects of Student Involvement on Graduate Student Satisfaction: A Pilot Study. Alabama Counseling Association Journal, 37(1), 33 -38. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fgcu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ954288&site=ehost-live
  3. In this article, Farley, McKee and Brooks examine the correlation between student involvement in extracurricular activities and student satisfaction. They measure satisfaction through the use of a Likert-type scale, among many other surveys that gather data on variables such as ethnicity, age, gender, etc. However, the study – due to many limitations and confounding variables – could not find a correlation between student satisfaction and campus involvement. This study is useful, however, in establishing a method for measuring student satisfaction.
  4. Hegedus M. Christine. (2009). Student Participation in Collegiate Organizations – Expanding the Boundaries. Retrieved from https://www.leadershipeducators.org/Resources/Documents/Conferences/Lexington/Hegedus.pdf
  5. Jorgenson, D. A., Farrell, L. C., Fudge, J. L., & Pritchard, A. (2018). College Connectedness: The Student Perspective. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 18(1), 75 -95. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fgcu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1169938&site=ehost-live
  6. In this study, the researchers conduct a study centered on student’s perception of connectedness on campus. The study was conducted through purposive sampling, where undergraduate students answered questions through an online survey. The results showed that student’s perception of connectedness is often centered on relationships with school staff and their peers. It was also calculated that students who feel more connection with others in school (typically through involvement in activities) were less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Overall, these results are useful for understanding any possible reasons behind a correlation in student satisfaction and campus involvement.
  7. Webber, K. L., Krylow, R. B., & Zhang, Q. (2013). Does Involvement Really Matter? Indicators of College Student Success and Satisfaction. Journal of College Student Development, 54(6), 591–611. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fgcu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1018076&site=ehost-live
  8. Yin, D., & Lei, S. A. (2007). Impacts of Campus Involvement on Hospitality Student Achievement and Satisfaction. Education, 128(2), 282–293. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fgcu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ816872&site=ehost-live

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College Students: College Involvement and Student Satisfaction. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/college-students-college-involvement-and-student-satisfaction/
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College Students: College Involvement and Student Satisfaction. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/college-students-college-involvement-and-student-satisfaction/> [Accessed 7 Jul. 2022].
College Students: College Involvement and Student Satisfaction [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Jul 7]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/college-students-college-involvement-and-student-satisfaction/
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