10 Traits Successful Students Possess

Archye Leacock
Jan 9, 2018 · 4 min read

The US Department of Education lays down the basics of how parents can help their children succeed in school. It includes encouraging students to read, talking to them, guiding them in their home works, letting them play in moderation, teaching them to use the library as well as the Internet effectively, and inspiring active learning and independence. In addition to these, let’s take a look at some characteristics that successful students share and strive to emulate:


There’s a Proverb that says parents should train up a child in a way that he should go, so when he is old, he won’t depart from it. While young, parents can nurture their children as powerfully as they want to. However, once that person grows up, it’s important to understand that every student is responsible for their own victory. And finding the right motivation plays a huge role in it. As a student, why do you want to succeed? How are you planning to achieve it?


Passion is every student’s best friend. You can’t just do something for the heck of it. If you research the word passion, search engines will give you definitions like “strong and barely controllable emotion”, “suffering”, and “martyrdom”. These are accurate descriptions of the word, as there can’t be any passion without sacrifice. If you want to succeed in life, you need to find something that will push you, fuel you, and inspire you. Once you find one, use it to anchor you in pursuing your goals.

Time Management

Contrary to popular belief that it takes 504 hours (21 days) to get used to doing something, research says that it actually takes an average of 1,584 hours (66 days) to form a habit. There are only 8,760 hours in a year. With such short time, how do you intend to develop new skills and create valuable habits? Through managing your time well. Students need to learn the art of gracefully allocating this precious resource without compromising their priorities.


If you want to learn quickly and effectively, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Better yet, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Teachers, professors, and educators love students who actively participates in their discussions. Good teachers are not afraid to entertain questions from their students because they believe this will harness critical thinking. For students, being active and asking questions in class will help you correct a misconception or clear any misunderstanding that you may have in your mind.


Smart people are eloquent in sharing their ideas, but wise people recognize the importance of respecting authority. This is best taught starting from toddler age. Psychotherapist Ingrid Schweiger, Ph.D., author of Self-Esteem for a Lifetime shares that “When kids say ‘thanks’ after something is given to them, they acknowledge that there’s a mutual exchange going on, a give-and-take,” she explains. Later on, they’ll discover that the world can’t be handed on a silver platter, so one must learn respect.


Private or public schools — they both teach responsibility. Once a student enters one, they become answerable for their behaviour, choices, and even belongings. The four corners of a university can teach a young person a whole lot about accountability, especially when they’re assigned to work with teams. This trait is central to success, as it allows them to become more independent and accountable for their little (or big) mistakes and victories.


One thing that separates a child from an adult is the ability to be organized and stay organized. Students become successful adults if and when they learn the basics of character. How are you doing when nobody is watching? Are you as prepared and ordered at home, as you show at class or at work? Do you still ask your parents to clean up after you? Success starts in the little details of everyday life. So, if you want to succeed in big things, be faithful in small beginnings.


Another ingredient is having self-discipline. No amount of determination and intelligence can replace the principle of self-discipline when reaching your goals. In fact, discipline can take you to places where passion and organization can’t. You need to create a set of goals — both short and long term and be able follow through. At first, it can feel a bit uptight and difficult but as you learn strategies along the way, things will just flow eventually. Discipline leads to maturity, growth, and success.


The ability to do something routinely, for a long time, without getting bored means you’re incredibly enduring and focused. Students, (especially millennials) don’t trade your eight-to-five job for a work that you’re not even sure you can do (yet). There is beauty and growth in routine activities. It sharpens your skills, lets you form efficient habits, and keeps you productive all-day long. That is of course, if you do your routine work with excellence and not just trying to get by daily.


Lastly, successful students don’t just go for it — they also dare to do things differently. That requires courage. Courage to be okay, in spite of the possibility of failure. Courage to overcome the judgments of men. Courage to start all over again. Not all students are open to discomfort and you should be, as success isn’t comfortable. In fact, success will always push you to do better every year. Don’t equate courage with being reckless. Keep in mind that courage should always be guided by wisdom.

Archye Leacock

Written by

Community Organizer and Executive Director of IDAAY - visit us at idaay.org

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