Great expectations: A study on the determinants of adolescent college graduation expectations


Maestas, Thomas (2014). Great expectations: A study on the determinants of adolescent college graduation expectations. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Past research indicates that peers are important for shaping adolescents' worldview, identity, and subsequent educational expectations. Building on this research, this study focused on the association between peers' anticipation of academic achievement and adolescents' own expectations for college completion. Using first wave data from the Add Health Study and multivariate logistic regression, I tested the association between peer's college graduation expectation and respondent expectations of college completion, holding constant potential confounding variables (e.g., student socioeconomic status, academic achievement, school-connectedness, etc.). Results indicated peer's expectation of college graduation was positively associated with respondents' expectations of college completion. Additionally, the positive association between peers' expectations and respondent expectations of college completion was stronger for students with lower grade point averages. Importantly, results were robust to the inclusion of parents' expectations of their own children's college completion. The results underscore the importance of peers in shaping adolescents' expectations of college achievement, and may hold policy implications for programs that foster informal mentorship among low-achieving students and peers with high expectations for college completion.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2014 Add Health Users Conference


Maestas, Thomas

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID