Characteristics of Successful and Unsuccessful College Students

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CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL AND UNSUCCESSFUL COLLEGE STUDENTS

Characteristic
S u c c e s s f u l S t u d e n t s (SSs)
U n s u c c e s s f u l S t u d e n t s (USs)

Ambition
SSs have "aligned ambitions." They are motivated to obtain professional careers after they graduate; they are aware of the knowledge, skills, and characteristics (KSCs) required for these careers; and they have realistic and accurate ideas of how they can use their education to acquire these KSCs. They fully understand that the most important outcome of their education is not the diploma they will receive when they graduate, but the positive ways in which they have allowed their education to change them in order to prepare for their futures. Students with aligned ambitions make careful decisions about which courses to take, which organizations to join, and how to spend their time. They use their school's supporting services (e.g., academic advising, mentoring, the Career Services Office, etc.) to increase the wisdom of these decisions. USs are often as ambitious as SSs (i.e., they also want to become doctors, lawyers, and business managers), but they possess "misaligned ambitions." They find it difficult to fulfill their dreams because they are unaware of the steps that will help them achieve their ambitions, which are often dreamlike and not realistically connected to specific educational and career paths. Regardless of how hard they try, they find themselves running in place, unsure of why they are in their current location and even more unsure of how to get to the final destination of their dream. They can be characterized as "drifting dreamers," who have limited knowledge about (1) the requirements of their proposed occupations, (2) the educational requirements of their schools, and (3) the educational opportunities that can prepare them for their occupations.

Attendance
SSs have perfect to almost perfect attendance, and their...
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