What Are the Most Common Traits of a Good Student?

Asking questions and thinking critically are characteristics of good students.
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Good grades might often point to good students, but they don't always tell the whole story. In many cases, students' personal characteristics reveal more about their scholarship than the end results. Traits like organization, critical thinking and a passion for knowledge provide the common foundation behind the names you see on the honor roll.

1 Attentive Attendance

In high school, students can face disciplinary action for skipping class, but college is a different story. With more freedom with scheduling and time, many students who see attendance as optional are missing out on a key tool for success. A 2005 study by H. Paul LeBlanc of the University of Texas at San Antonio confirmed a strong connection between class attendance and higher achievement. Good students not only attend class but also listen carefully, take notes and ask questions. They also often stay after class to clarify information or to engage in further discussion with the instructor.

2 Not Just Grades, but Goals

While the desire for A's and B's drives many high-achievers, good students typically have motivations that transcend grades. The teachers' resource website Teachnology states that student motivation applies to both short-term goals, such as completing an in-class assignment or succeeding on an upcoming test, and long-term goals, like getting into a college or graduate program or preparing for a specific career. Good students can see that while grades may matter for graduation, their future value diminishes in comparison to the knowledge itself. The experience of learning, facing challenges and reaching personal milestones is ultimately the most important to them.

3 Punctual Planners

Good time management is a vital characteristic for student success, according to the Los Angeles Valley College writing center. Because they are often involved in many aspects of school life, good students are usually skilled at organization, often keeping a planner of forthcoming due dates, activities and other commitments. They understand the value of time and use it wisely without procrastinating or doing slipshod work and rarely miss assignments or turn them in late. Their work is not only on time but usually completed in a neat, meticulous fashion.

4 Lifelong Love of Learning

Ultimately, good students have a passion for knowledge that extends beyond one individual class, seeking to think critically and apply new learning to other courses or areas of interest in their lives. The "Time" article "Secrets of the Most Successful College Students" notes that they are able to find personal applications in class concepts, see the global relevance of new information and ask big questions that often don't have easy answers. With a natural curiosity about different topics, they desire to form a panoramic view of the intersection between their own lives and goals and what they're studying.

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.