Effects of academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and work experience on entry-level employment of college graduates

Barbara Louise Hewitt, University of Pennsylvania


Many of today's students view higher education as an investment in the future, hoping to recoup the high cost of a college education by securing a “good” job after graduation. Unfortunately, it is unclear what specific student accomplishments increase student marketability to prospective employers. This study investigated what types of involvement are most beneficial for students in terms of increasing the number of interview invitations and job offers received. The specific involvement areas investigated included academic involvement (as evidenced by GPA), extracurricular involvement, and work experience. A regression analysis was conducted on data from May 2001 Bachelor of Science graduates from the Wharton School and Economics majors from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Data were collected regarding the number of interview and job offers students received through a Career Plans Survey. Student resumes were also coded to develop scores reflecting each student's professional and nonprofessional work experiences and involvement in extracurricular activities. Official school records were utilized to confirm student GPAs. The research indicated that students with higher GPAs received more job offers (although not interviews). While professional work experience was moderately helpful in gaining more interviews and job offers, nonprofessional work experience was not helpful. Contrary to the hypothesis, it was found that students with the highest levels of leadership activities received fewer interviews and job offers. Based on the research, counselors should encourage students to maintain a respectable GPA as well as gain professional work experience. On the other hand, students might be cautioned against over-investing their time and energy in campus leadership roles to ensure they are able to devote adequate time to their academic pursuits and job searches.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Hewitt, Barbara Louise, "Effects of academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and work experience on entry-level employment of college graduates" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3052940.