Science says how you meet your college friends affects how well you do in your classes

Friendship alert, we repeat, friendship alert! According to science, your college friend group actually effects how well you do in your classes, so choose wisely.

We all know that friends make or break your time in school, and whether or not your pals last a lifetime or just four years, your college friends help you get through being away from home and you’ll forever love them for it. Now we’ve learned that these same college pals are reportedly partially responsible for your ability to do well in your school work, which is crazy, but very interesting at the same time.

According to a new study from Dartmouth, your friend choices do effect your success in the classroom, so when your parents said your friends are a bad influence, you might want to rethink staying in their group… well, maybe not, but you should at least keep reading this post.

The study, which was led by associate professor of sociology, Janice McCabe, is the source of her upcoming book’s Connection in College: How Friendship Networks Matter for Academics and Social Success, and focuses on friendships and their correlation to academic success.

McCabe used her study to explore how “types of individual friendships, how people benefit socially and academically from these friends and how the social networks reflect a student’s race and class.”

She also discovered that there are three fundamental types of social groups that affect students and their academic achievements. They are, the tight knitters, compartmentalizers and samples.

Tight Knitters

According to McCabe’s studies, this group can be described as “one dense group of friends.” They all know everyone and they are closely knit, like a ball of yarn. The study found that students of color were the most likely to be a part of this category, and their friendships would either motivate them to succeed, or just as likely, detract from their success.


The second group thrives on specific interests, like athletic teams, brunch dates or your major. This friendship circle makes sure to keep their interests separate from other things. It is mainly comprised of white middle class and the study revealed that their academic success isn’t as strongly affected by their friendships as the first group.


This group is actually less of a group situation and made up of one or two best friends, which share everything with each other and interact on a daily basis. The people in this scenario are confident in their academic prowess no matter what their group is saying or doing.

“Tight-knitters maintained nearly one-third of their friendships from college while compartmentalizers and samplers retained about a quarter of their friendships from college,” McCabe determined, which proves that groups that encourage both social and academic success last longer.

What group do you fit into? Would you say your friends have effected your academic success?

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