We’re all trying to figure out what factors breed student success. And why wouldn’t we? The faster we’re able to break down the various aspects of student success, the faster we’ll be able to improve success rates. Since educators across the globe are all working on this, occasionally we like to report on their findings.
A recent article by a Missouri State University dean, David Hough, talks about one such factor in student success: a “futures orientation.”
What is a “futures orientation?”
Basically, it is what it sounds like. It’s an orientation toward the future. Hough defines it more specifically in his article:
…describes an intrinsically motivated and strategically socially connected person who realizes that his or her future depends upon the quality of mental and physical energy devoted to academic work.
Hough is addressing low-income or first-generation college students. But this applies across the board. From his experience he’s found that highly motivated students experience higher levels of student success.
This leads us to a really interesting question:
What factors create this type of student success orientation?
Hough lists six factors that lead to student success among this group of less-advantaged students. We can briefly summarize these six factors as:
- Parental partnership
- Mentorship from extended family
- Mentorship from a teacher
- Mentorship from a successful person
- Student confidence from early academic success
- Merit or need-based financial aid
When several of these factors were present, students tended to gain the confidence they needed to find success, as well as had the right people present for encouragement throughout their career.
Students, what you can do about this
If you’re a student who is currently experiencing a high degree of academic success, consider mentoring younger students. Student success begins early and is rarely achieved in isolation. Your influence in the lives of a younger student might be the difference in his or her going to college.
If you are a student who isn’t experiencing the levels of student success you’d like, find a mentor. This can be a relative, a teacher, a fellow student, or a local adult you respect. The key is that you have someone in your life. If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, find them. Dig them up. Google for them. Go to your school’s guidance counselors and ask for one. Mentors are out there, and often the only reason they aren’t mentoring people is that no one has asked.
Parents, what you can do about this
Your student’s success is impacted by you in a significant way. What you communicate about the value of education will be picked up, even among very young children. Value it, and your student will value it as well.
If you have questions as to how you might best impact your student’s success, be sure to enroll in the free resource, Essential Study Skills. You can read the entire article about student success by Dr. Hough here.