Predictors of Success in College and Career: Effects of Personality, Motivation and Drive

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Research examining success in college and career suggests that success in college, when measured by GPA, may not be a strong predictor of success in work, including salary and career satisfaction. This study examined how individual person variables, such as personality, motivation and drive, may better the predictive value of GPA. Predictors of college success, extrinsic career success and intrinsic career success as measured by GPA, salary and job satisfaction, respectively, were examined. Three models were developed and analyzed using structural equation modeling. In the models, demographic variables, personality, work motivation and work drive were assessed. Participants included 64 male and female undergraduate participants from a small private university and 107 male and female graduates of the same university. Those with higher GPAs tended to be female and to show more Conscientiousness, work motivation and work drive. Higher salaries were associated with being male, having obtained a higher educational degree and being less neurotic. Higher career satisfaction was associated with being male, White, having obtained a higher educational degree, having a higher undergraduate GPA, being less neurotic and less open. Results highlight the incongruencies between the personal attributes that tend to be associated with success at school and those that tend to be associated with work.
Dissertation completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree in School Psychology at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Predictors of success, College success, Career success