The Impact of Study Abroad on Academic Success: An Analysis of First-Time Students Entering Old Dominion University, Virginia, 2000-2004

  • Min Xu
  • Chandra DeSilva
  • Ellen Neufeldt
  • Jane H. Dané
Keywords: Study abroad, Student success, Graduation rate


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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Author Biographies

Min Xu

Min Xuis an Enrollment Planning and Data Analyst in the Office of Enrollment Management at Old Dominion University. Her research interests center in the areas of self-regulation of learning, retention, and academic success in higher education.

Chandra DeSilva

Chandra R. de Silvais Vice Provost and Professor of History at Old Dominion University. His research is on Portuguese Colonial History and contemporary education, politics and legal issues. He co-authored Education in Sri Lanka 1948-1988 (1990). His latest book is entitled Portuguese Encounters with Sri Lanka and the Maldives (2009).

Ellen Neufeldt

Ellen J. Neufeldt, Ed.D., is the Vice President for Student Engagement & Enrollment Service at Old Dominion University. Ellen’s research interests are focused on educational administration and policy studies as well as undergraduate retention.

Jane H. Dané

Jane H. Dané is Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Old Dominion University. She is the recipient of the AACRAO SEM Award for Excellence that recognizes outstanding achievement and visionary leadership in strategic enrollment management (2011). She co-authored and presented at the American Education Research Association (AERA), Keeping Our Options Open: Evaluating the Impact of a Pilot Test-Optional Admission Policy (2010).


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How to Cite
Xu, M., DeSilva, C., Neufeldt, E., & Dané, J. H. (2013). The Impact of Study Abroad on Academic Success: An Analysis of First-Time Students Entering Old Dominion University, Virginia, 2000-2004. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 23(1), 90-103.
Research Articles