Social-Cognitive Predictors of First-Year College Persistence: The Importance of Proximal Assessment

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Early withdrawal from college can present problems for students and educators. In an effort to broaden our understanding of factors associated with students' persistence in higher education, we examined the ability of variables from Social Cognitive Career Theory assessed before college and during students' second semester to predict first-year college persistence. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses revealed that academic ability/past performance and social-cognitive variables assessed during students' second semester were significant predictors of first-year persistence. However, academic ability/past performance was the only precollege predictor significantly related to persistence. Implications for institutional assessment, intervention, and research are presented.


This article was originally published as Kahn, J. H., & Nauta, M. M. (2001). Social-cognitive predictors of first-year college persistence: The importance of proximal assessment. Research in Higher Education, 42(6), 633–652.