Determinants of Chinese Students' Academic Success in Korean Universities
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The present study investigated the key determinants of Chinese students’ academic success in terms of GPA and the number of credit hours earned. The determinants investigated included gender, age, prior academic performance, academic self-efficacy, the TOPIK score, self-perceived Korean and English proficiency, and the previous length of Korean and English study. This study specifically focused on three research questions concerning the prediction of Chinese students’ academic success in Korean universities, the additional contribution of Korean and English language proficiency, and the examination of prediction patterns for undergraduate and graduate students. A questionnaire was issued and collected from 138 undergraduate and 63 graduate Chinese students studying in 27 different Korean universities. The questionnaire consisted of four sections: demographic information, academic background, language proficiency and psychological factors. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were conducted to address the proposed research questions. The findings demonstrated that traditional factors, including gender and prior academic performance, were effective predictors of academic success. However, academic self-efficacy did not play an influential role in participants’ academic success. Language proficiency had a moderate effect on Chinese students’ academic success, which is consistent with previous studies that reported a positive statistically significant relationship between language proficiency and academic success. In this study’s context, Korean proficiency contributed to undergraduate GPA and graduate credit hours whereas both Korean and English proficiency contributed to graduate GPA. The different natures of undergraduate and graduate studies determined that the predictors of undergraduate and graduate students’ academic success were different. The determinants of international students’ academic success are complex and not yet completely understood, and language proficiency is only one of the factors contributing to international students’ academic success. The present study addressed the research gap by integrating theoretical constructs from both psychology and language education, and also by exploring the relationships between language proficiency and academic success in a less researched test, TOPIK, and in two second languages, Korean and English, at the same time. The findings contribute to the overall understanding of international students’ academic success, in particular the success of Chinese students studying in Korean universities.