Being There: The Importance of Just Showing Up

As many of our students begin considering which colleges to attend, we think it’s important to help them find strategies for success once they get there.

Throughout the years, many have believed that a student’s level of success in college could be predicted by high school GPA and standardized test scores. While these numbers may correlate with success to some degree, we’ve learned that we’re often comparing apples to oranges. GPAs across American high schools vary widely in terms of what they actually measure. Similarly, different populations may score lower on the SAT and ACT, not because they are performing poorly, but because cultural differences and access to preparation also vary widely. Recent studies focused on a factor that predicts college success that is surprising in its simplicity – attendance. In a world where no one is forcing students to go to class, 100% attendance is an indication of commitment and hard work. In Psychology Today, Glenn Geher, Ph.D. posits that “hard work and effort trump other factors, such as talent or intelligence, when it comes to predicting success in life.” To succeed in college", he suggests "…be where you are supposed to be and do the work that you are supposed to do.” The words of Jackson State University Professor, Dr. Hilliard L. Lackey, should resonate in the minds of all students at any institution. They are simply, “Those who attend class, tend to pass.” Once in college, attending class regularly has many benefits besides the obvious one – that this is what you’re paying for. People who attend class regularly…

  • Don’t miss pop quizzes

  • May learn something new and unexpected

  • Have more opportunities for face time with professors

  • Are able to ask questions

  • Are more prepared for tests and don’t have to study as hard for them

  • Have additional opportunities to socialize, often with people who share their interests

  • Improve their chances of graduating

And by the way, regular attendance in the world of employment is not a choice, it’s a requirement. College grads should bring the attendance/hard work mantra into the workplace. Many people whose talents get them hired, fail if they don’t put that talent to work. As any professional athlete, musician, or writer will tell you, without hard work, talent fizzles. Tim Notke, a high school basketball coach who claims former MVP Kevin Durant as one of his student athletes, coined the phrase, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” So, resist hitting the snooze button and you just may find yourself on the road to success.

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