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A comparative study of three hundred non-veteran students and three hundred student veterans in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia Hayes, Herbert Orville

Abstract

The study was instituted in an attempt to find any factors that might have contributed to the rather unexpected success of the veterans as university students. A secondary aim was to seek evidence bearing on the contention that veterans are superior students to the non-veterans. In order to compare the veterans and non-veterans, a questionnaire was devised by members of the psychology department. It covered a range of topics including vital statistics, motives for university attendance, interest in courses, and attitudes to study, to extra-curricular and outside activities, and to factors considered as aids or; barriers to university success. The questionnaire was given to 1600 students taking the introductory course in psychology. From their papers, three hundred were selected at random from the ex-service group and three hundred from the civilian group. Their answers were tabulated, changed into percentages and compared for significant differences. In addition, the service experiences of the veteran group were evaluated for their bearing on university success or failure. The academic records of both groups were then examined for two consecutive years and compared for significant differences. The veterans were found to have attributed their success to a variety of factors. Chief among these were the financial support afforded under the government plan, the helpful quality of the instruction, the widened experience gained in the services, the salutary effects of service discipline, increased age, university counselling, and married status. Statistically significant differences favouring the veteran group were found in their attitudes toward extra-curricular and outside activities, interest in course and in the importance attached to the vocational aspects of university training. Married veterans were found to show significant differences from both single veterans and civilians with regard to housing and financial problems. A pronounced tendency toward greater self reliance was also found among the ex-service group. In academic achievement, no significant differences were found between veterans and non-veterans, as such. However, a difference of high statistical reliability favouring the married veterans was found when their accomplishments were compared with those of the single veterans and the civilians.

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