Academic and Social Expectations of Incoming College Students

  • Ryan Korstange Middle Tennessee State University
  • Thomas M. Brinthaupt Middle Tennessee State University
  • Autumn Martin Middle Tennessee State University
Keywords: first-year experience, student success, college-ready mindset, demographic differences, academic experiences, social experiences


Students’ beliefs about themselves and their abilities shape their first-semester college experience. Previous studies have connected growth mindset and grit with increased graduation and retention relates, but mindset is likely to relate to other factors besides academic performance and re-enrollment. This article examines incoming students’ beliefs about their intelligence, social skills, work habits, and effort. Students (N = 332) also rated their likely reactions to a variety of hypothetical academic and social situations they might encounter during their first year of college. Our goal is to expand the conversation about the “college-ready” student mindset and develop a more accurate picture of the various beliefs students have when they enter college. The results demonstrate significant ethnicity, gender, and ACT score differences across the major measures, but not first-generational status differences. These results suggest that student support programming should take into consideration variations in student mindset.


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How to Cite
Korstange, R., Brinthaupt, T., & Martin, A. (2020). Academic and Social Expectations of Incoming College Students. Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention, 27(1).
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