What factors drive student success?

In our recent survey of over seven hundred instructors, we asked the question: What do you believe is the #1 factor in student success? As we read through the responses, we observed a few trends. Here are some of the top recurring themes among instructors’ answers:

1. Motivation and dedication
A very large number of instructors mentioned that a student’s focus, commitment, and dedication play a central role in student success. Likewise, according to instructors, persistence plays a critical role; “willingness to work hard; the ability to continue working when the answer isn’t obvious to them.” And as another instructor wrote, a successful student is one who has the “…determination to succeed and tak[es] advantage of all opportunities for learning.”

2. Engagement
Student engagement leads to student success. And when students and instructors are engaged with one another, it’s an especially winning combination. As one instructor put it: “Students and instructors collaborate and engage each other into the process for learning.”

3. Organization and time management
Students who put strong time-management habits into place will set themselves up for a successful college experience. But good time-management skills go beyond the ability to block out the hours in one’s day; one instructor wrote that a student’s “willingness to invest the effort necessary to master the material” will be a large determinant in their academic success.

4. Preparation
By continuing to hone their study skills, and by coming to class with all readings and other assignments completed, students are better poised to keep up with (and understand) the course material, and thereby succeed in the class.

5. Belief in their own ability to succeed
A positive, success-focused attitude can make a strong difference in a student’s college experience. All students can benefit from what one instructor described as “a belief in themselves that they can achieve their goals and a good support system to rely during stressful times.”

6. Participation
A student who actively listens to lectures and engages in in-class activities (such as discussions) has a far better chance of mastering course content and thereby successfully completing his or her coursework. It’s no wonder instructors place a high value on participation!

But is there truly one factor that leads to student success?

As a good number of instructors said, many factors play a role in student success. There’s no one “magic bullet”—but, students who adopt the traits and habits will set themselves on a course towards success in college… and beyond.

Want some inspiration? We’ve created a word cloud of instructors’ top “factors for student success,” which we’ve included below.

Instructors name top factors in student success