Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Randy Larsen


This dissertation identifies variables that predict academic performance and university satisfaction among 146 undergraduate students at Washington University tested during their first semester of freshman year and later as sophomores or juniors. Hierarchical regression analysis reveals that, after controlling for SAT scores, freshman levels of conscientiousness and upperclass Academic Engagement predict higher GPA. Freshman levels of life satisfaction, Co-curricular Engagement, and low regret, and upperclass levels of happiness, social support, and low regret predict university satisfaction. A quantifiable model of Student Engagement is also offered. Further, results demonstrate that, over the college years, personality and student engagement change over time. Implications for strengthening academic performance and increasing student satisfaction are discussed.


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