Not So Soft Skills: The Importance of Grit to College Student Success

  • Rebekah Reysen
  • Matthew Reysen
  • Patrick Perry
  • R. Dewey Knight


According to the American College Testing organization (2012), fewer than 35% of students attending public institutions graduate within five years of enrolling. This figure increases to just over fifty percent for private attendees. Clearly, the idea of a “four-year degree” is more elusive for the majority of undergraduate students than it has ever been. These facts have led researchers to consider the factors that delay, or even prevent, graduation. The concept of “grit” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007) is defined as passion and perseverance for very long-term goals and has become a popular topic in the education literature. Duckworth et al. (2007) found that grit positively associates with academic success. The purpose of the present study was to explore the relationships between grit, academic performance, and educational attainment, as measured by number of attempted credit hours at the collegiate level. We also aimed to ascertain whether academically at-risk students (those with less than a 2.0 GPA) had lower grit scores than their non-at-risk peers. We discuss our findings in the context of potential interventions and future directions for research in this area.


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How to Cite
Reysen, R., Reysen, M., Perry, P., & Knight, R. D. (2019). Not So Soft Skills: The Importance of Grit to College Student Success. Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention, 26(2).
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