Characteristics of Struggling College Students

By Brenda on August 17th, 2011



In a previous blog we discussed the common characteristics of successful college students have in common such as self-responsibility, time management, self-motivation, and so on. There are also common characteristics that unsuccessful students share.

It’s safe to say that all students intend to finish school, but when you live by principles that do not lead to success it is inevitable that you will fall short. So what are the characteristics of struggling college students? Let’s find out.

Struggling College Students have a Victim Mentality

These students believe that the results in their lives are achieved through luck, fate, and other people. This mindset leads to failure and frustration because that person never believes they have the ability to affect their future. Victim-minded students often complain about their professors and are masters at coming up with excuses.

Struggling College Students need External Motivation

It’s common to need encouragement and motivation from others, but when you need that to be successful, that’s when it becomes a problem. Struggling students who have difficulty sustaining motivation can feel depressed and lost.

Struggling College Students Have No Plan

Struggling students wander around and never identify action steps they need to do to reach their goals. Even if they do formulate a plan they typically procrastinate.

Struggling College Students Isolate Themselves

Struggling students often are too proud or scared to formulate healthy relationships. They typically do not attend group study meetings or interact a lot online with other students. People need people to succeed in college and life. Those who remain isolated never become vested and can easily slip out the back door when times get tough.

Struggling College Students Make Choices Based on their Feelings

These students tend to make their choices on what will bring them comfort. Instant gratification may feel good for the moment but it usually sabotages the future. They often do things like skip class when they are tired, and choose to do other things when they should be studying. They often self-sabotage their own success through destructive behaviors.

Struggling College Students Resist Learning

They often see their studies as boring or pointless. This makes it very easy to drop out of school. Successful students are lifelong learners and make a conscience effort to see value in what they are learning.

Struggling Students are at the Mercy of Their Emotions

Emotions such as fear, anxiety, depression, instant gratification, and anger drive many of their decisions that result in negative results.

Struggling Students Doubt their Competence and Suffer from Low Self-Esteem

They often feel inadequate and compare themselves unfairly to the best students. They are far too hard on themselves which cripples their ability to flourish.


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