Students Who Do Research Have Higher GPAs, Study Finds

Undergraduate UT students who engage in academic research have higher grades on average than those who do not, according to a 2011 study from UT associate dean for student affairs and associate sociology professor Marc Musick, with Harrison Keller.

The study, “The Effects of Research on Undergraduate Academic Success at The University of Texas at Austin,” surveyed 5,358 UT undergraduates. The study found that more than 80 percent of UT students have participated in some form of research (such as classroom projects, assisting faculty, or independent research).

This finding is not particularly surprising; after all, correlation isn’t causation, and it seems probable that high-achieving students are more likely to do research in the first place.

What is surprising, though, is the finding that the least-prepared students benefit the most from research. Check out the graph below (from Dean Randy Diehl’s “Seven Solutions” report):

SAT scores are a predictor of college readiness: students with low SAT scores are less likely to have high GPAs. Note that the difference in GPA is greatest for the at-risk group on the left (those with SATs below 1650).

According to Musick and Keller, “Although research experience is, in general, beneficial for student success, it is especially so for the students most at risk of academic jeopardy or failure.”

Read the rest of the study here:
The Effects of Research on Undergraduate Academic Success at the University of Texas at Austin


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