Human perception and behavior can impact the success and likelihood of achievement throughout one’s lifetime. Whether one is a college student or career oriented it is their personality that makes up a significant proportion of success. Research helps highlight what personality traits encourage students be successful by moving toward their career goals. They found that personal and institutional satisfaction where two different hypothesized paths.
Not all students will be successful. Some will inevitably fail. They come to college with a range of issues related to personal perception, habits, patterns and expectations. Those who have developed strong traits seem to be more successful. Of course, one cannot say that students can’t learn new approaches but starting from a negative outlook will have its disadvantages.
Students make choices about their careers, how long they are willing to study, and their level of academic engagement. Each choice comes with possible successes or consequences. The ability to make a choice is often called human agency. It is the combined unconscious (undirected behavior) and conscious (goal-directed) behavior that helps or hinders students in their paths to success.
There are four key factors associated with human agency. According to Bandura (2001) these four are 1.)intentionally thinking about future actions, 2.) future oriented thinking about goals, consequences and possible outcomes 3.) aligning activities to achieve goals, and 4.) the ability to self-reflect on oneself and their actions. Each function allows for strategizing, setting goals, aligning activities, and feedback thinking.
In philosophy one can argue that behavior and choices can either be rooted in personal behavior or historical context. Personal behavior assumes that all behavior is derived from the person while the historical context assumes that social pressures arise to determine behavior. It is commonly believed that few people have true control over their behavior in the sense that they are reflective enough and intelligent enough to think beyond the social structures in which they live.
To college students it is important to understand why students make certain choices about their professions, lines of study, and their success in allocating their efforts to achieve academic success. Such students often live within their family histories, personal attributes, and impressions of their environment that impact their daily decisions and choices. Knowing which students are most likely to succeed in college can be helpful for determining appropriate career paths.
A study conducted by Feldt (2012) focused on testing the measurements and path models of the social cognitive model of college satisfaction with a focus on career development. They used two measures of satisfaction which includes satisfaction with personal career development and satisfaction with availability of resources to foster career development. 270 undergraduate students who were recruited from class five weeks after midterm. They sought to determine the cognitive measures of 1.) major and career self-efficacy, 2.) career outcome expectations, 3.) goal progress, 4.) perception of resources, 5.) satisfaction with career preparation, 6.) life satisfaction and 7.) big five inventory.
-Life Satisfaction was associated with personal satisfaction and extraversion.
-Institutional satisfaction was associated with resources, self-efficacy, and personal satisfaction.
-Personal satisfaction was associated with extraversion and resources.
-Goal progress is association with self-efficacy.
-Outcome expectations were associated with resources and self-efficacy.
-Resources were associated with conscientiousness.
Student success relies heavily on the perceptions and resources students bring to their colleges. When students are satisfied with themselves and willing to engage others they have higher life satisfaction. Such students are more likely to be happy when they have resources to fulfill their objectives, believe in their abilities and feel positive about themselves. The research may also indicate that students that were conscientious were also more likely to be involved in the university and its affairs to obtain needed resources.
In general, strong students are happy, have positive self-image, and believe in their abilities. They view college as a way to achieve their life goals. The resources within the college are maximized for their benefit. Perhaps there is no perfect student but those students who do well are mostly likely to be fully engage in the college experience and enjoy the benefits of college life. Like any life activity negative affectively may just impact success in college and career.
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, (52) 1.
Feldt, R. (2012). Social cognitive model of college satisfaction: a test of measurement and path models. College Student Journal, 46 (4).