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Desire to Succeed Linked to Better Grades in College
Date:3/25/2013

MONDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Personality may not be the key to success, but one specific personality trait -- conscientiousness -- seems to be associated with achieving a higher grade point average (GPA) among college students, a new study has found.

For their analysis, researchers examined 51 previous studies that looked at the link between the co-called "Big Five" personality traits -- agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience -- and college GPA.

In all of the studies, only higher levels of conscientiousness were associated with higher college GPAs, according to the findings published in a recent online edition of the journal Psychological Assessment.

Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and is usually found in people who are organized and who tend to think about things carefully and follow through.

In addition, the investigators found that five common personality tests were consistent in their evaluation of the correlation between GPA and the personality traits, with only conscientiousness having a positive effect.

The findings could prove important for college admission offices and employers, who use personality tests to measure a person's capacity for success, according to study lead author Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice University in Houston.

"Research on these personality tests helps us gain a better understanding of how various personality traits may affect academic outcomes and other important life outcomes," McAbee said in a university news release.

"And although some researchers have questioned whether these personality measures might vary in their validity or effectiveness for predicting these outcomes, our analysis shows that all five measures produce similar results in the academic domain," McAbee added.

Study co-author and psychology professor Fred Oswald stressed that "institut
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