N. Wesseling

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (NETHERLANDS)
This paper is a theoretical discussion of the factors that influence students’ success in higher education based on previous studies and I will propose possible new factors that emerge from the changes in our information society. After an inventory of factors of influence based on educational theory studies and sociology, respectively involving Durkheim’s social integration and Coleman’s rational choice theory, I will discuss possible additional factors of influence, given by the evolving media-saturated world and media literacy research. More specifically, I will discuss information problem-solving skills and its possible influential factor on first year college students’ success. Because of the increasing use and expanding role of computers and the Internet and the tendency of students to roam the Internet in search for information in order to solve their study assignments, I will point out why those skills are becoming more important, besides computer skills, in today’s society and especially important for students to find their way in the overload of information on the Internet. The inventory of all the factors and the theoretical discussion if information problem-solving skills have to be taken into account as an additional factor of students’ success in higher education is also a requirement for a follow-up study. In this study all the factors will be measured and subject to statistical tests to detect for each variable, the weight of, or contribution to the success of a student and the correlation and/or causalities between the different variables. Eventually this will enable me to determine to what extend the information problem-solving skills have a beneficial effect on students’ success in higher education.