Higher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1–2, pp 3–15 | Cite as

Self-concept development and educational degree attainment

  • John C. Smart
  • Ernest T. Pascarella


The present study explores changes in the academic, social, and artistic self-concept of college students over a nine-year period. While the findings demonstrate a positive relationship between the educational degree attainment levels of students and their formation of a more healthy self-concept, the findings further indicate that the relationship is not consistent for males and females. In general, the findings suggest that the collegiate experience does not diminish self-concept gender differences that exist at the time of matriculation. The degree to which changes in students' self-concept is related to selected aspects of their collegiate experience and characteristics of their undergraduate institutions is also explored. The findings indicate that changes in students' self-concept is related to their level of social and academic integration during their undergraduate careers and to the size and selectivity of colleges they attend. The implications of these findings for enhancing students' self-concept during the college years are discussed.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Smart
    • 1
  • Ernest T. Pascarella
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Education, 285 UCOB, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.University of IllinoisChicagoUSA

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