Aug. 20, 2021

How Do You Define Success?

As students, we are conditioned to measure success by a standardized grade scale that tests our abilities to complete tasks x, y, and z effectively. While that is a valid way to measure subject knowledge and retention, does an A grade automatically indicate student success?
How Do You Define Success?

Yes, grades are significant to the student experience, but it would be unfair to place the entire perception of success solely on academic performance. When creating a personal definition of “success,” it is important to consider all factors contributing to the student experience – not just grade point average.  

1) Academic Success

While it may be instinctual to equate academic success with a 4.0 GPA, there is a long list of contributing factors within the classroom. Perhaps for you, success is driven by engagement: actively listening, participating in discussions, and note-taking during class.  Maybe success is related to effective study habits and the methods in which you’re learning the material. Success could be recognizing areas of opportunity within your studies and seeking help via office hours or academic advising. Academic success can be measured by the efforts taken to complete the assigned materials rather than the graded outcome itself. 

2) Personal Success

While a student may focus on academia related to student success, it is important to prioritize wellbeing and notions of personal success outside of the classroom. Success may be driven by a balance in the effort to prioritize self-care among their studies. It could relate to personal wellness, by mentally and physically taking care of yourself.  Success may come from honing a new skill and partaking in activities for personal enjoyment. Perhaps success comes from happiness and the things in life which make you smile. The many ways to measure personal success are equally as necessary and impactful to the student experience.

Considering academic and personal factors contributing to the student experience, how can a standard grading system effectively define success for every student? This is not to discredit a traditional 4.0-grade scale. For many students, this method of assessment completely covers how they choose to define success. For other students, drawing upon other factors relating to the student experience better conveys their definition of success. 

All are correct.

How do you define success?