Report: Mindset Plays Role in Community College Student Success


What role does mindset play in student success?

A new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) finds that a productive and positive mindset can change a student’s intelligence, confidence, and increase levels of engagement.

The report, “A Mind at Work: Maximizing the Relationship between Mindset and Student Success,” challenges community colleges to use its findings to change their approach to working with and recruiting students.

“We are long past the time of having as our primary ethos an open-door admission policy. We are now emphatically focused on trying to ensure that those who walk through our doors are successful, defined as transferring, or having the skills needed to thrive in a job that pays a living wage,” Evelyn Waiwaiole, executive director of CCCSE, wrote in the report.

Using a mindset lens, community colleges can also better help students process setbacks and combat the negative perceptions they face.

“Many of the students who walk through the doors of community colleges have already been told they are not college material. Or they have had experiences that led them to believe they cannot do math or are not good at taking tests,” Waiwaiole said.

“Through intentional and deliberate actions, colleges can begin to move students from what the Center is calling ‘nonproductive mindsets’ to ‘productive mindsets’ and change the way they feel about past failures. This shift can lead to more engaged students—and ultimately, more successful students.”

Read the full report.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at