Can Facebook Make You a Better College Student?

Last Updated Sep 7, 2010 10:17 PM EDT

Can hanging out on Facebook keep college students from dropping out?
That's the conclusion you could draw from a new study which found that college freshmen who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to return for their sophomore year.

The study, which was conducted at Abilene Christian University, tracked 375 freshmen for nine months to see if their Facebook activity had any impact on their success in school.

So what did the researchers find? Students, who survived their freshmen year, had more Facebook friends -- about 27 more on average -- and they also had about 59 more wall posts than the freshmen who dropped out.

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of College Student Retention, included this observation:

"Rather than being an escape from reality, social media may mirror real life: More actively connected students on Facebook were most likely also connectors in the real word."



In an interview in Wired, Jason Morris, one of the study's authors and the director of higher education at Abilene Christian, had this to say about the findings:

"The study was able to show that these students who are more active on Facebook are also out there getting involved, making new friends and taking part of activities that the university provides for them."
But wait kids!

Before you skip your homework to hang out on Facebook, keep in mind that studies making cause-and-effect claims can be pretty darn shaky. Maybe the freshmen who stayed in school also ate more granola or were more likely to make their bed in the morning or perhaps received more care packages from their moms.

Who really knows.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
Facebook image by benstein. CC 2.0.

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