Most sociologists recognise four factors affecting student academic performance. These include the family's socioeconomic status; the time spent on independent learning and preparation for classes; time spent working on a job or practising a hobby; and the university or school environment.
Recent empirical studies show that the role of the social environment may be underestimated, as classmates can greatly influence one another's behaviour and academic success.
Social networks, particularly among college freshmen, can
change considerably over time - eg a student can break up with an underachieving friend and seek the company of A-graders.
According to the researchers, students do not usually consider academic performance in choosing friends, but over time - often in the middle of the academic year - all members in a peer group tend to perform at about the same level.
Thus, most students who surrounded themselves with high-achievers improved their performance over time.


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