The primary purpose of the study is to identify if veteran students’ extra-curricular activities lead to better academic performance. Since about 75% of all veterans enrolled in higher education programs, the challenges and the particularities of their engagement in university life is of great importance (Cole & Kim, 2014). In addition, the research aims at investigating how the initiation and the time of engagement in an extra-curricular activity influence veteran students’ academic performance, as well as finding a correlation between performance at the university and attendance of extra-curricular activities. The hypothesis developed for the study anticipates that veteran students’ engagement in extra-curricular activities improves their academic performance. For that matter, this is a quantitative correlational study that utilizes descriptive statistics to test the hypothesis.
A sample of 108 university students with experience in military service was recruited from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The individuals included in a sample are those satisfying the characteristics necessary for the study. Students of different ages and genders, who have served in the military forces, are retired, or are still on active duty and enrolled in the university programs to obtain a post-secondary education, were included in the sample. Importantly, the participants’ engagement in extra-curricular activities varied from active to no participation, as well as the intensity and duration of engagement were different. In terms of sampling, the majority of studies investigating the topic of veteran experience at colleges and universities concentrate on first-year students (Rumann & Hamrick, 2010; Semer & Harmening, 2015). The sample for the current research includes students at different years of study from the first year to graduate masters and doctoral students.
Procedure and Recruitment
The process of recruitment was conducted with the help of written e-mails requesting the sampled students to participate in the study. The recruited individuals signed informed consent forms to validate their agreement for participation. The participants were instructed on the procedures and the tasks they would be expected to complete. The procedure included the carrying out of the survey using Qualtric Surveys software. Overall, each student answered twenty-four questions regarding demographic data, engagement in military service, years in university, participation in extra-curricular activities on campus, the challenges of integrating into academic life, and the frequency of extra-curricular activities’ attendance. The time spent on completing the questionnaires was estimated to be approximately sixty minutes.
The prior analysis of literature allows identifying the influential variables within the study. The majority of veterans enrolled in university programs are older than 24 years and have families, which constitutes this population’s particularity that might affect their integration in campus life (Grimes et al., 2011). Also, since student veterans might be included in the population of non-traditional students, their needs, and particular characteristics of military experience play a significant role in their academic life (Tan & Pope, 2007). Therefore, the variables related to demographic information were included in the research.
Two sets of independent attributes were allocated for the study. Firstly, the independent attribute of time, which is thought to be a significant influencer on the effect of participation in extra-curricular activities on academic performance. The variables include the following options for frequency of participation: every day or multiple times per week, once or twice a week, a few times a month, once or twice a month, and less than once a month. Secondly, the issue of the effect of physical exercises on academic performance of student veterans has been studied; however other types of activities have gained less attention in the scholarly circles (Semer & Harmening, 2015). Therefore, different types of extra-curricular activities were used as independent attributes for the study. They include exercise, formal dance lessons, individual sport, music group, school club, school magazine, student veteran organization, and team sport. The dependent variable researched in the current study is the academic performance of student veterans under the influence of participation in extra-curricular activities of a different kind with various attendance frequencies.
To analyze the data collected from the participants via survey questionnaires, R programming was used. The data were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics and regression analysis through the correlation of different variables’ influence on the academic performance of student veterans. Regarding the answers to each question in the survey, the results were combined and presented in the form of percentages. The analysis assessed the relationships between independent variables and the overall academic performance. The independent variables of time (the different variants of participation frequency specified in the measures section) and the types of activities (including exercise, formal dance lessons, individual sport, music group, school club, school magazine, student veteran organization, and team sport) were combined in regression analysis to observe their respective influence on the GPA scores of the student veterans enrolled in the university programs. The chosen tools of data analyses allow for investigating a multifaceted nature of relationships between numerous variables and test their respective influence on the dependent variable. The data analysis process is relevant and consistent with the study goals.
Cole, J. S., & Kim, Y. M. (2013). Student veterans/service members’ engagement in college and university life and education. Web.
Grimes, A., Meehan, M., Miller, D., Mills, S. E., Ward, M. C., & Wilkinson, N. P. (2011). Beyond the barricade: A holistic view of veteran students at an urban university. Journal of the Student Personnel Association at Indiana University, 62-74.
Rumann, C. B., & Hamrick, F. A. (2010). Student veterans in transition: Re-enrolling after war zone deployments. The Journal of Higher Education, 81(4), 431-458.
Semer, C., & Harmening, D. S. (2015). Exploring significant factors that impact the academic success of student veterans in higher education. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 15(7), 31-43.
Tan, D. L., & Pope, M. L. (2007). Participation in co-curricular activities: Non-traditional student perspectives. College and University, 83(1), 2-9.