Student Success in College


Different factors contribute to the success of college students. One of such significant factors is the student’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EQ) gives a person the capability to be cognizant of their emotions as well as the feelings of those around them. Through emotional intelligence, a person can take charge of and control their emotions. This makes it easy for them to adjust and fit into their environment and attain their goals. Intelligence Quotient (IQ), on the other hand, is the capacity or the level of a person’s intelligence determined by their basis of reasoning, their learning abilities as well as their remembering and language usage capacity. Emotional intelligence contributes to a greater extent than the intelligence quotient in students’ success. Students who are emotionally intelligent are more likely to succeed in school than students with higher intelligence quotient since emotional intelligence facilitates the students’ self-management capability, relationship management, social awareness, and self-awareness.

To start with, emotional intelligence makes a student have self-management capabilities. When a student for instance joins a college, they may be anxious and may be facing challenges while undergoing this transition. Through the self-management skills, however, a student will cope up with the situation and fit into the new college environment, and this is expected to come with positive education outcomes (Sparkman et al. 645). These self-management skills assist the student to be in charge of their emotions and feel accommodated in the new environments. In normal cases, a student may, for example, be unable to manage stress or pressure that they are undergoing. Such pressure and stress are likely to affect the student’s performance in school but with self-management capabilities, it is possible to deal with such pressures and stress. Emotional intelligence will, therefore, make it easy for them to adjust and remain aware of their emotions and the task ahead of them. Once they manage such pressure and stress that they may be going through, the chances are that they will improve their academic performance.

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Secondly, emotional intelligence makes students develop relationship management skills which are essential in dealing with other students and making one succeed. Emotional intelligence normally makes a student empathetic to identify and decode other people’s feelings and develop social abilities. This means that they can easily interact with each other, which is necessary for their whole life success (Sparkman et al. 644). Students that are emotionally intelligent can manage the social relationships that they have with others by using their emotions and the people’s emotions to handle the different situations successfully. Relationship management is essential in students’ college life as it facilitates the development of teams. Emotionally intelligent students will realize the need for teamwork and will seek to work as team players, while motivating the others. Once a student is empathetic and has social abilities, they will be motivated to assist others to understand any concept that they may have failed to understand. As they explain to others a specific concept, they will be more likely to understand the same concept better and even retain the knowledge that they have. Besides, it is through their relationship management skills that such students will be able to manage the relationships that they have with their teachers by remaining disciplined, which is necessary for their success. A student with intelligence quotient but without emotional intelligence will not have such relationship management skills, and this may directly affect their performance. Emotional intelligence is, therefore, valuable in making a student willing to help other students academically and maintain good relationships with their instructors, which is necessary for their success.

Additionally, emotional intelligence enables the student to be socially aware, which is vital in understanding the other people and adjusting accordingly. Being socially aware and with social abilities, a student can express themselves and on behalf of others and this makes them good communicators both within the school and in the society. A student’s ability to socialize with others is necessary for their success. In a class, for instance, a student may be aware that the other students did not understand a particular concept and this will prompt such a student to seek clarification on behalf of the other students. A student that is emotionally intelligent will be more willing to express themselves while being considerate of the other people’s feelings and emotions. Excellent communication is a critical factor that determines the extent to which a student understands but a student with high intelligence quotient but poor in communication will not have the best results. This, therefore, means that being a student who is socially aware, the student will make sure that they are comfortable with every situation, including the status of their knowledge.

Finally, emotional intelligence increases the self-awareness status of the student, which is necessary for them to succeed. Through the self-awareness capabilities, a student can precisely perceive their emotions and can stay in charge of such feelings as they happen. Being aware of one’s self mostly makes a student to identify the element that pushes them to succeed (Cotruș et al. 5213). With the self-awareness capabilities, students are able to make the best decision from a pool of options and freedom that they have. In ordinary cases, a student that is self-aware of themselves can discern that which is right and wrong, and in such cases, they are likely to make decisions that will impact their lives positively. By having a clear understanding of their emotions and where they stand, they can conduct self-evaluation exercises, which they can use to make critical decisions that will drive them towards their academic success. Self-evaluation which comes as a result of self-awareness capabilities will make a student assess their current situation, see whether they are progressing in the right direction and adjust themselves accordingly. A student with high levels of intelligence quotient but with low levels of emotional intelligence may not be able to make decisions that are likely to assist them to succeed while remaining considerate of the other people. It can, therefore, be concluded that self-awareness is an essential aspect of emotional intelligence which makes the students make logical decisions that are likely to make them succeed.

On the other hand, some people may argue that the intelligence quotient is more likely to make students succeed in their academics than emotional intelligence. They will say that despite the extent to which a student succeeds in dealing with others, having shallow levels of intelligence quotient will make them fail terribly in their academics. They may say that intelligence quotient facilitates a person’s cognitive control, their ability to reasoning and learning. With the lack of cognitive control and reasoning, they argue, it could be difficult for a student to perform better in their academics.

This argument is, however, not valid in that students will have different levels of intelligence quotient, and a combination of a low level of intelligence quotient and high levels of emotional intelligence will yield better results than intelligence quotient on its own. Success in college is determined by a combination of different variables and not just a student’s intelligence quotient. It would be important to possess various variables that amount to a person’s success rather than just a high intelligence quotient level which by itself alone may not assist the student so much. This means that holistically, a student with emotional intelligence will be an all-rounded person in their studies, unlike a student who will rely on their intelligence quotient levels for their success. When a person analyzes the argument from this angle, one will be able to refute the claim that the intelligence quotient is better than emotional intelligence in determining a student’s success.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence puts students in better positions to succeed in their academics. When equipped with emotional intelligence levels, they are able to develop self-management skills, relationship management skills, they become socially aware, and finally, they will have self-awareness capability which is the most important of all. It, therefore, means that they will be able to realize themselves and what they want, which will then make them consider decisions that are likely to benefit them as well as others. It would be important to emphasize more on the need to have and build emotional intelligence than despising it. It can, therefore, be concluded that emotional intelligence plays a better role than intelligence quotient when it comes to students’ performance and their respective levels of success in college.

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  1. Cotruș, Andrei, Camelia Stanciu and Alina Andreea Bulborea. “EQ vs. IQ which is most important in the success or failure of a student?” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences (2012): 5211 – 5213.
  2. Sparkman, Larry, Wanda Maulding and Jalynn Roberts. “Non-Cognitive Predictors of Student Success in College.” College student journal 46.3 (n.d): 642-652. 
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