Conscientious collegians get better scores

Studies across America, Europe and other nations reveal

girl being watchful

Conscientious people get better grade point averages, according to research from Rice University.

The research paper investigated previous studies that examined the link between the “Big Five” personality traits—agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience—and college grade point average. It finds that multiple studies have repeatedly linked higher levels of conscientiousness to higher college grade point averages. They found a positive correlation between conscientiousness and grade point average and virtually no correlation between the other four personality traits and grade point average.

According to Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice and the study’s lead author, the study has important implications for college admission offices and employers, who use personality tests to measure an individual’s capacity for success.

The paper reviewed 51 previous studies [more than 26,000 total participants] published between 1992 and 2012 that investigated relationships between the “Big Five” personality traits and college grade point average. It included 26 studies focussed on United States, 19 studies of European countries and six from other areas of the world. More than 95 per cent of the studies were through individuals who volunteered to be part of this research, and the remaining studies used surveys of freshers who joined college.

Researcher McAbee hopes the study will encourage further research of how personality impacts student success.

“Grade point average is just one of many factors that can predict student performance and long-term success,” McAbee said. “We hope our findings will encourage research that investigates how different personality traits impact important outcomes.”

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