The Effect of Spirituality and Campus Ministry on Academic Accomplishment in College Students

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Similar studies in the same area of research have yielded the same type of results as those found at Marist College. In a study by Zeta (1989), a sample of 251 college students were asked to describe their own degree of religiousness and that of the home atmosphere in which they grew up. That study found that about 75% of approximately 10% of the sample of students who rated themselves higher than the atmosphere they grew up in had grade point averages higher than the sample mean. These results indicate that a higher degree of religiousness should positively correlate with higher GPA in other college students as well.

Other recent studies have shown that religion may help college and high school students have a sense of inner control over their life and surroundings. This feeling in turn helps college students adjust to their new surroundings faster than the average student and also may have a positive effect on their academic achievement. In a study by Mooney (2005), two separate measures of religiosity were used and then correlated with the students' academic achievement. Since this type of study is similar to the Marist study, the findings are particularly pertinent.

A report by Keller (2001) showed that as students increased their involvement in church life, their grades also tended to rise. This study involved over 450 families in the north-central Iowa area and focused on high School students. According to Keller, "Rural high school students who were significantly involved in church activities generally got better grades." King's research clearly indicated that increased church activities not only increased students' academic achievement, but also their social competence and self-perception.

In a related article by Loury (2004), findings indicated "that religiosity during adolescence has a significant effect on total number of years of schooling attained." Over 2,700 students were observed on factors that centered on the number of times they attended church rather than their perceived spirituality or involvement in church activities.

Loury (2004) showed that church attendance during adolescence significantly increased total years of schooling obtained. Though the present article does not discuss the increase in academic achievement and church attendance, it can be suggested that greater school attendance leads to greater academic achievement.

It has been shown that "religious affiliation can affect the returns from investments in education: among religious groups characterized by larger benefits from schooling, the incentives to pursue education are stronger and thus a higher level of attainment is expected, other things being equal ... religious affiliation can affect parents' willingness and ability to supply funds for investments in schooling; a higher level of education is expected for religious groups in which parents have a greater willingness and ability to supply funds for such investments, other things being equal" (Lehrer, 1999). This is a reflection on not only the child's spiritual involvement but that of the parents. As suggested here, parents who play a large role in a child's spiritual life also seem to play a larger role in the child's academic life. This larger presence tends to keep children more motivated in their educational pursuits.

METHOD

Participants

From Marist College's Campus Ministry organization, 195 females and 52 males were surveyed. All participants were administered the same questionnaire at the same time. All participants were sophomore, junior or senior members of the campus ministry program.

Materials

An informed consent form was read to the participants in order to assure anonymity. Questionnaires consisted of the INSPIRIT, a list of campus ministry activities, and other questions including GPA, gender, and graduation year. Students were asked to indicate which activities they participate in. …