Southern New Hampshire University
Mentor: Dr. Sally Jacoby, Department of Communication
Where are Their Heads? Changes in Motivation and Definitions of Success Among High School Seniors and College Sophomores
High school seniors may have dreams or reservations about going to college and being able to achieve what they think is college success. After finishing their first year of college, when they return as sophomores, students’ views of college success and motivations toward that success may change. Academic, family and social pressures, both positive and negative, can also be factors contributing to a student’s success and motivations. This cross-sectional study will investigate the dominant types of motivations for college success that students report and will explore how students define college success. Two instruments, the existing Academic Motivation Scale and a success survey designed specifically for this study, will be used to collect data from a sample of high school seniors and a sample of college sophomores. The Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand et al. 1992) categorizes students’ motivation as intrinsic, extrinsic or amotive. The success survey will attempt to gather students’ self-reported definitions of college success. The data from these two groups will be correlated. Students will also be given a demographic survey, the categories of which will be correlated with types of motivation and definitions of college success. This study will add to the ongoing discussion of how students are motivated and how their views of academic success change or stay the same over the course of their education.