Monday, March 7, 2011

Working Habits of Kalamazoo College Students

A recent study, conducted by Becky McLaughlin and Alex Olafsson, revealed the percentage of K College students who work during the academic year. This study may be interesting to current and upcoming college students, parents of said students, employers, and teachers. Some important discoveries of this study were average hours per week worked, hourly pay, average time spent studying, and GPA. According to our results, 61.76% of males and 62.96% of females work during the academic school year. These students work an average of 9.84 hours per week, and earn an average hourly pay of $7.69 (which is higher than the current minimum wage of $7.40). Even though over half of these working students believe that working has a negative effect on their school work, they still maintain an average GPA of 3.39. Nonworking students have an average GPA of 3.46, giving K college an overall student GPA of 3.41.

Originally, the researchers hypothesized that nonworking students would have higher GPA than working students. This was based on the idea that nonworking students have more time to focus on their studies. However, our calculations showed that this difference was statistically insignificant, meaning that difference between GPA in our statistics was due to random chance. This could be due to multiple variables. For example, the range of hours worked by K students was between 2.5 and 50 hours per week. According to our research, the more hours a student works per week, the less time they have to study, and therefore they reported working has a negative effect on their academic performance. Those students who reported that working has a positive effect on their studies also stated that they are able to study and do homework while working (computer lab assistant, desk jobs, weight room supervisor, etc). These are jobs held by on-campus work study students, which make up 37% of all students.

Other important discoveries of this study included average hours spent studying per week. According to our results, students spend 17.2 hours per week studying. There is a direct and positive correlation between amount of time studying and GPA: students who spend more time studying tend to have a higher GPA than those who do not study as much.

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