Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

The Influence of Personal Factors on Students' College Success

Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

The Influence of Personal Factors on Students' College Success

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Higher education is a very demanding educational stage of each person. College success is important to students because it proves that they are coping with the expectation to achieve desired learning goals and the goals related to their entire future life. But how well do the students adapt to college life and its demands once they enter it? What is students' life satisfaction and what are the motives to attend college? According to Tinto (1993), freshmen evolve along three entry phases: separation, transition, and incorporation". Once they enter university, some very important psychological factors come on the surface and affect student performance and development, such as: aptitudes, attitudes, motivation, study approaches, vocation interests (Russel, & Petrie 1992).

As Lyubomirsky (1999) suggested, 50% of student success is determined by the "set point" primarily genetic qualities, another 10% is determined by the context or "circumstances" in which one lives. However, the key to success is the remaining 40%, which includes the variables a person may directly influence. Satisfaction, happiness, and success are manifested by putting effort into the variables in which one has control.

For Tinto (1993), students who leave college are those who are unable to effectively distance themselves from their family or community of origin and adopt the values and the behavioural patterns that typify the environment of the institution they are attending.

Some aspects and factors are very important during the schooling years, but are very difficult to be measured or easily recognized. Those aspects are: the students' satisfaction during education, if they feel comfortable in the learning environment, and how willing they are to attend the courses and to be successful.

The Expectancy theory, the Self-Efficacy theory, and the Motivational theory suggest that students are predisposed to seek certain kinds of activities during college (Kuh 1999; Olsen 1998), such as how to spend time, which, in turn, affects their performance inside and outside the classroom.

2 Literature Review

2.1 Personal factors that influence students' success

The very high importance of all the factors that influence students' success, is given to Psychological Personal Factors in dealing with the students' college success.

How will the students manage to live, study and succeed in a totally new situation and position of life at university, depends upon their personality. This paper will generally pay attention to these factors and their influence on students' success. The Personal Factors are as follows:

1. Academic Self-efficacy

2. Organization and Attention to Study

3. Stress and Time Pressure

4. Involvement with College Activity

5. Emotional Satisfaction

6. Class Communication

The researchers developed different questionnaire scales related to these factors which they use to find out the level of the presence of these factors in one's personality. The scales are the questions made to inquire students' different values, abilities and beliefs during attending the college. The students are presented the results later on, in order to know what causes the problem and what causes their failure in academic success. According to the results, the students are sent to the counselling or tutoring depending on the source of the problem. During these sessions the students try to adapt to the new environment or to catch up with the others taking some extra courses.

2.1.1 Academic Self-Efficacy (ASE Scale): Self-efficacy is defined as a selfevaluation of one's competence to successfully execute a course of action necessary to reach desired outcomes (Bandura 1977, 1982.) Self-Efficacy is related to a belief that a student has the ability to perform. If the students have high level of Self-Efficacy than they believe that they can be more successful in all the things they do. …

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