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Hope and the Academic Trajectory of College Students


Previous longitudinal studies of student hope have established a connection between how people think about the future and their college achievement. This study examined the role of hope in predicting the achievement and retention of college students while controlling for educational history and two other psychological constructs, academic self-efficacy and engagement. Hope, self-efficacy, engagement were all correlated with both the number of semesters enrolled and cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) for the first 4 years of college. Hope was the only factor that had unique effects when examining predictors simultaneously and controlling for academic history. Hope uniquely predicted the number of enrolled semesters, whether students returned for the 2nd semester of college, whether students graduated in 4 years, and students’ GPAs across 4 years of college. Results therefore indicate that hope was the most robust predictor of academic achievement in college after controlling for educational history. These findings point to a need to help students develop the capacity to initiate and sustain movement toward goals in the pursuit of higher academic achievement.

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Correspondence to Matthew W. Gallagher.

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Gallagher, M.W., Marques, S.C. & Lopez, S.J. Hope and the Academic Trajectory of College Students. J Happiness Stud 18, 341–352 (2017).

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