Over the past few weeks, Professor Shostya and I have been gathering data from Banner on the recently-graduated classes of the honors college. We were searching for information like high school GPA, SAT/ ACT scores, number of college-level classes taken and scores on each respective exam, as well as demographic data such as gender, domestic or international birth, and ability to speak a second language. We have also conducted a literature review in which we read several research papers exploring similar topics and recorded important information to better understand what has already been researched and what is yet to be discovered.
After finalizing our data set on Excel, we imported our spreadsheet into Stata, and began running Probit regressions to observe the effect of our independent variables on our single dependent variable- graduating with honors. Much to our suspicion, none of our independent variables correlated significantly with our dependent variable. In other words, the academic factors we observed such as grades and standardized test scores had virtually no effect on whether or not a student graduated from our honors college. Although this is a challenge in that we have no significant data or analyses at this point, this was also an important discovery. Moving forward, we will be changing our definition of success to a more well-rounded one including not only graduation with honors, but also job offers upon graduation, internships throughout college, awards, research, and comments from a thesis adviser, as some authors included in our literature review did.
The fact that the very factors we rely the most on to decide a student’s acceptance to college are completely insignificant is surprising. This raises questions like “Why do we use these factors if they really do not impact a student’s success?” and “How can we change our admissions process to predict applicants’ success here and accept those who are more likely to stay at and ‘succeed’ in Pforzheimer Honors College?” Despite the obstacle that we have encountered, I am looking forward to using our creativity to come up with new and better ways to predict the overall success of applicants at Pace University’s honors college.