Given the large number of dropouts in the 1st year at university, it is important to identify early predictors of 1st-year academic success. The present study (n = 453 first-year students) contributes to literature on the transition from secondary to higher education by investigating how the non-cognitive factors pre-university effort and pre-university academic self-efficacy influence 1st-year retention at university. In addition, we examined pre-university reasons for attending university and whether these reasons were related to 1st-year retention. Multinomial logistic regression analyses showed that pre-university effort positively predicted 1st-year retention, whereas pre-university academic self-efficacy did not. With exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis, we identified six pre-university reasons for attending university: career perspective, personal development, compliance with the social environment, attractiveness of the institution, recommended by others, and location. None of the pre-university reasons appeared to significantly predict 1st-year retention. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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Keywords academic success, Effort, higher education, non-cognitive, reasons for attending university, self-efficacy
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Journal Educational Research and Evaluation: an international journal on theory and practice
van Herpen, S.G.A, Meeuwisse, M, Hofman, W.H.A, Severiens, S.E, & Arends, L.R. (2017). Early predictors of first-year academic success at university: pre-university effort, pre-university self-efficacy, and pre-university reasons for attending university. Educational Research and Evaluation: an international journal on theory and practice, 1–20. doi:10.1080/13803611.2017.1301261