Traditional and psychological factors associated with academic success: investigating best predictors of college retention
We compared factors that colleges have traditionally used to predict students’ academic success (ACT score and high school GPA) to non-traditional factors (perceived stress and grit, defined as having perseverance and passion for long-term goals) to determine best predictors of academic success, measured using college GPA and retention. We obtained data from 165 undergraduate students. Participants completed the Short Grit Scale and Perceived Stress Scale. We obtained participants’ college GPA, high school GPA, and ACT scores. We assessed longitudinally, 1.5 years later, whether participants were retained. ACT score and high school GPA were excellent predictors of college students’ GPA, but poor predictors of retention. Conversely, perceived stress and grit were poor predictors of college students’ GPA, but were statistically significant predictors of retention. Traditional factors, often used for college admissions, are less important than non-traditional, psychological factors, in predicting who will complete college. We discuss potential strategies for improving college retention.
KeywordsAcademic performance College retention Grit Perceived stress
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors of this study declare that we have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board of our university. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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