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College Success Factors

What determines a student’s ability to succeed in college?  And what can parents do to instill these characteristics?  According to a study at Rice University there are three factors that determine college success:  a sense of belonging, a growth mindset, and personal goals and values.  Currently most colleges rely on cognitive competencies to predict student success; the authors are suggesting that we assess other factors to make an accurate determination.  They suggest that students who feel like they fit in with the college environment, have an open mind to learning and growing in their discipline, and have specific goals and objectives for the future tend to have a greater probability of success. The researchers looked at student’s grades, retention, and graduation to measure college success.

So what can we do as parents to encourage these winning qualities in our children?  First we can exhibit them in ourselves.  When we develop a good support network and have people we can count on in our lives, our children may seek a similar connection network.  We may have these connections through a shared team, club, or activity or maybe through our occupation.  Or our connections could be made through our faith-based groups and services.  For some, connections are formed through similar interests and passions.  Personally, my passion for relationships, exercise, speaking, and belonging to a faith community have helped create multiple connections.  Likewise, being open to learning and growing daily is a mindset that works well for me.  Life is a journey and accepting that we are constantly evolving helps us be more resilient to change.

Success comes from having a plan, focus, and direction for life.  Finding your passion and using that drive to power you forward towards your goals will enable you to make it happen.  Unfortunately, many college students wander aimlessly through their college education without purpose and passion.  I believe participating in real world experiences and working in the field of interest helps a person define their direction.  I’m a firm believer in summer internship programs and practicum experiences to help a person discern their goals and objectives.  For me, success came from figuring out my gifts and matching them with my passion into a career.  My passion has been to make a difference by helping others in their relationships and life.  Do your gifts and passion fit well together? Model connection, growth, and defining goals to your children and if they learn those from you, they will go far.

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