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Over the past decade the construct of emotional intelligence has captured the public imagination and become a hot topic in the popular media. While the extravagant claims for the importance of emotional intelligence have little empirical support, evidence has been growing for the existence of the construct. This study is an attempt to relate emotional intelligence to the decision of first-year college students to enroll in an honors program.
A measure of emotional intelligence was devised made up of four different Likert-type scales measuring different components of the construct. These scales were administered to 72 freshman students at a selective, private, liberal arts college. All 72 students were eligible for the college’s honors program, but only 44 students chose to be a part of the program. Discriminant analysis confirmed that emotional intelligence, as measured by these 4 scales, was a significant predictor of the decision to enroll in the college honors program, predicting honors program involvement 76% of the time. This research indicates that differences in emotional intelligence may be a significant factor discriminating between honors students and their equally academically adept peers.