Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of college freshmen: An exploratory study

Date of Completion

January 2003


Education, Educational Psychology




As students matriculate into college, new and varied experiences challenge them. Academic rigor as well as social stress invites each student to either adapt or fail. In order to provide meaningful interventions, illuminate effective practices and make appropriate adaptations to existing services one must first ascertain the needs of the population, relevant successes of previous efforts, and potential modifications to those efforts. This study explores the cognitive constructs of college freshmen with respect to their academic and social life skills as a means to indicate need, success, and room for change. In particular, this study looks at the potential gender differences of matriculating students' knowledge, attitude, and behaviors (KAB) with respect to life skills over the course of a single semester at the University of Connecticut. Data were collected from students following a pre- and post-, quasi-experimental control group design. Principal components factor analysis was used to describe the underlying constructs of the instrument scores. This analysis indicated that there were four total factors on the knowledge dimension, two factors on the attitude dimension, and four factors on the behavior dimension. Multiple MANCOVA models were conducted on a total of 944 matched data sets. Post-test factor scores were used as dependent variables while the pre-test factor scores serve as covariates. Significant differences were detected in areas of great importance (e.g. knowledge of resources, attitudes towards tools for collegiate success, and attitudes toward interactions). ^