Researchers Look to Hope In Order to Boost Student Success

Published August 23, 2013

math_lectureIs hope the new path to academic achievement? Several recent studies suggest that the answer is yes. These studies, including one of more than 100 students at two British universities, show that students who can set clear goals, recognize the steps necessary to achieve them and motivate themselves to follow those steps are more likely to do well than those who can’t.

This is more than just the power of positive thinking. People who believe that good things are on the horizon aren’t necessarily taking action to make those good things happen. Hopeful students are those who not only see where they want to be but also understand the process involved in getting there. Also, unlike optimism, it appears that this type of hope can be taught; that is, students can learn how to improve their goal-mapping skills and visualize ways to navigate the paths they need to take to achieve success.

What does this learning process involve? Boosting a student’s hope is about more than just making them feel good about themselves. Action is one of the biggest characteristics that sets hope apart from optimism. A good self-image is important, but without the strength to persevere, even the most comfortable and confident student may become mired in the obstacles faced over the course of a college education. Teaching kids to anticipate these obstacles beforehand and come up with proactive solutions helps them navigate the college experience and prepares them for similar situations later in life, according to a longitudinal study of Portuguese middle school students.

The success of this hopeful attitude lies in part with institutes of higher education themselves. Motivating students and setting goals helps, but if kids are presented with overwhelming material that seems to set them up for failure from the start, even learning the “process” of hope may not be enough. Instead, educators and administrators need to work together with students to create a learning environment that enhances hope. Being open to helping struggling students and willing to start a dialog with those who seem to be stuck in a negative rut creates a better relationship between students and staff which in turn makes the college experience easier to handle.

With all of the negative messages in today’s media, it’s important for college students to realize that the goals they’ve set for themselves aren’t out of reach. As one study at a Midwestern state university showed, understanding the value of hard work and recognizing their abilities makes students more likely to do well during college and stick with it long enough to graduate.

No Response to “Researchers Look to Hope In Order to Boost Student Success”

Leave a Comment