Secrets of the Most Successful College Students

An article on TIME Magazine provides a useful list of 8 traits that a researcher found were common in highly successful college students.

According to Mr. Bain, the first thing students should do is “Think beyond the transcript. The creative, successful people profiled in this book—college graduates who went on to change the world we live in—aimed higher than straight A’s. They used their four years to cultivate habits of thought that would enable them to grow and adapt throughout their lives.”

Another important point is that the most successful students have a “Growth Mindset”, so these students do not believe intelligence is a fixed attribute and rather believe that intelligence can be developed over time, based upon experience and additional learning, opening students up to a much wider range of educational experiences.

  • Full list of traits:
    Pursue passion, not A’s
    Get comfortable with failure
    Make a personal connection to your studies
    Read and think actively
    Ask big questions
    Cultivate empathy for others
    Set goals and make them real
    Find a way to contribute

Best regards,
Pedro Calado


College-admission letters go out this month, and most recipients (and their parents) will place great importance on which universities said yes and which said no. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests that the most significant thing about college is not where you go, but what you do once you get there. Historian and educator Ken Bain has written a book on this subject, What the Best College Students Do, that draws a road map for how students can get the most out of college, no matter where they go.

(MORE:Does College Put Kids on a Party Pathway?)

As Bain details, there are three types of learners: surface, who do as little as possible to get by; strategic, who aim for top grades rather than true understanding; and deep learners, who leave college with a real, rich education. Bain then introduces us to a host of…

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