Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Honors Program, Gifted Education, Gifted College Students, Educational Aspiration, Career Aspiration, Academic Involvement

Major Advisor

Sally M. Reis

Associate Advisor

Joseph S. Renzulli

Associate Advisor

E. Jean Gubbins

Associate Advisor

Jaclyn M. Chancey

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Academically talented college students who participate in honors programs are generally believed to be more involved in educationally purposeful activities and to hold higher educational and career aspirations than their peers who do not participate in honors programs. Having high educational and career aspirations is beneficial for student success after college. However, the effects of students’ involvement in an honors program on students’ aspirations is unknown. This study examined the aspirations and involvement of two groups of college students—honors students and non-honors students—by class standing (lower division compared to upper division) and gender (male and female) at a single large public university. All students at the university were invited to complete a survey that includes an educational aspiration scale, a career aspiration scale, and questions about student involvement. The final sample included 434 honors students and 366 non-honors students. A series of ANOVAs and regressions were performed to investigate the potential differences. The results of this research study supported a positive effect of the honors program on both career and educational aspirations. Aspirations were greater for upper division honors students compared to lower division honors students. Additionally, higher academic involvement was related to higher aspirations and may be a mechanism by which the honors program influences aspiration.