The Impact of Study Abroad on Academic Success: An Analysis of First-Time Students Entering Old Dominion University, Virginia, 2000-2004
An analysis of data on first-time degree-seeking students entering Old Dominion University between fall 2000 and fall 2004, controlled for High School GPA, First Year GPA, Gender, and Ethnicity indicates that while four-year graduation data did not show greater success for those participating in semester-long study abroad programs, study abroad for a semester was a statistically significant predictor for higher five- and six-year graduation rates. The authors contend that the impact on four-year graduation rates is negligible because many students participate in study abroad programs after their sophomore year, suggesting that encouraging more students to participate in semester-long study abroad programs in their sophomore year could have a major impact on retention and graduation. The authors suggest further studies to measure specific learning outcomes of study abroad and related experiences as well as the possible differential impact of study abroad on underrepresented minorities and females.
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