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What's in a Grade? Academic Success and Political Orientation
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Expanding the literature on person-environment fit, the authors argue that political orientation is an important factor in shaping academic success in college. Based on social dominance theory, it was expected that academic disciplines that are more likely to provide students with future access to social and economic power tend to favor individuals who hold attitudes that strengthen the existing societal order. In a longitudinal sample of undergraduate students at a major American university(n = 3,890), the authors demonstrated that student grades in these disciplines, but not in other disciplines, are positively related to a precollege measure of conservatism. This association between conservatism is consistent over time and subgroups, thus implicating higher education in the reproduction of social hierarchy. The discussion examines the causal processes underlying the relationship between political orientation and academic success in college.