Factors That Lead to Greater College Success

According to new research by the Rice University, if students are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, they could get college success by growing mindset and salient personal goals and values.


Educational achievement is a national priority because it creates both economic and personal gains. Similarly, U.S. college enrollments are increasing for greater educational attainment. According to new research, if students are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, they could get college success by growing mindset and salient personal goals and values.

This study is actually based on a review of 49 articles targeting 61 experimental studies that examined interventions to improve educational attainment. Beyond these studies, the 3 abilities provide evidence on student’s college success and persistence. And they are generally considered as grades, retention, and graduation.

Most of the time, college students feel that they belong in college, fit in well and are socially integrated. Almost 85% studies measuring students’ sense of belonging demonstrated a positive impact of belonging on students’ college GPAs.

For growth mindset, college students believe that their own intelligence is not a fixed entity, but rather a malleable quality that college can help improve. Almost 75% studies showed that this characteristic had a positive impact on students’ college GPAs.

Next, personal goals and values are directly linked to future achievement. Almost 83% studies believe that this characteristic has a positive impact on students’ final course grades.

Fred Oswald, a professor of psychology at Rice University said, “The study suggests some remarkable findings based on low-cost, brief writing exercises for improving these Intra- and interpersonal competencies.”

During the first intervention, students need to write about the relevance of course topics to their own life or to the life of a family member or close friend. Another intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and transient. Scientists used the subtle attitude change strategies to lead participants to self-generate the framing in their writing.

Oswald said, “With these interventions, GPAs have been shown impressively to improve not only in the class where the intervention was given but many semesters beyond. Furthermore, the interventions show the largest benefits accrue in student groups that are at greatest risk for academic failure. Oswald thus noted that these interventions have promise but deserve further intensive research to assure these interventions can impact student success in the future, in other college settings.”

“Measures of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies should be held to rigorous development procedures and statistical standards, just like the SAT, ACT, MCAT, LSAT and other standardized tests of cognitive competencies.”

“Many current assessments of these competencies fall short in providing solid statistical evidence supporting their reliability and validity. It is important to investigate these measures carefully, for example, because students can differ in how they interpret the meaning of rating scales, or sometimes they feel pressured to present themselves in the best light.”

The report was funded by the National Science Foundation.


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