A student is so much more than their grades. In fact, I believe that grades are one of the least valuable metrics to use when defining the traits of a good student.
If you spend too much time focusing on grades, it can be easy to ignore the traits of a good student. I know many Straight A students who didn’t have these traits and struggled in college. I was one of them.
Grades are not the end goal. School’s objective should be developing the right mindset and learning the skills to help you succeed. Plus, putting grades on a pedestal can increase the stress you feel from school.
What matters most is the traits you possess and how you use those traits to your advantage. It’s these traits that can help you find success in college, professionally, and throughout life.
This list includes 10 traits of a good student. You can stack these skills and use them in college and your career. They are the foundation on which you can build your success; these skills will last you a lifetime.
10 Traits of a Good Student
This list of traits is not in any specific order, and each will contribute to your long-term success.
1. A Good Student is Growth Oriented:
A good student is always looking to improve and grow. They don’t just accept what they know but strive to learn more. They understand learning is a lifelong journey and are up for the challenge.
Good students view mistakes as part of the learning process and use them as an opportunity to learn instead of indicating failure. They take criticism positively and use it to their advantage.
Learning to be growth-oriented is a crucial mindset shift. You can embrace this trait of a good student by changing your perfection about mistakes and focusing on what you can learn from them instead of punishing yourself.
2. Organization is an one of the most important Traits:
Good students have an organized and systematic approach to learning. They use note-taking, planners, calendars, or any other system that helps them stay on track.
They plan accordingly, break tasks into manageable chunks, and are always prepared. Their organization helps them stay on top of their academics and prevents them from falling behind, even when the unexpected happens.
Organization is one of the most straightforward traits to improve. You can start by creating a habit of writing things down, making a calendar to track tasks and deadlines, or using an app to help you stay organized. The most important aspect is picking a system of organization and sticking with it.
Courage is a trait that many people don’t associate with good students, but I believe it is one of the most important on this list. Good students are not afraid to ask questions, even if they think people will judge them.
They take risks and pursue their interests despite any obstacles they may face. Most of all, they are unafraid to fail and learn from their mistakes.
Many students with good grades lack courage, preventing them from maximizing their potential. You can develop this skill by stepping outside your comfort zone and seeking challenging activities and classes.
What separates an average student from a great student is consistency. Consistency helps keep you focused on your goals and keeps you ahead of the curve.
Good students understand that success is a marathon and not a sprint. They practice good habits daily, set aside time every day to work on their school work, and take the time to care for themselves mentally and physically.
One of the best ways to stay consistent is to meditate and build a routine. Simple activities like waking up at the same time every day, writing in a journal, and eating healthy can help you stay consistent and focused.
5. Goal Oriented:
Many students claim they are goal-oriented because they want to get Straight As. However, this goal is controlled by their teachers and often encouraged by their parents. Good students set their own goals based on their behavior.
For example, a good student aims to study every night for a test instead of aiming for a specific grade. This type of goal setting allows them to control their destiny and set achievable goals to measure progress.
If setting goals is new, focusing on behaviors instead of outcomes is essential. You can’t directly control your grade on a test; you can control how often and how long you study. Focusing on behaviors will set you up for success.
6. A Good Student Advocates for Themselves:
Unfortunately, many students think that good students always know the answer and don’t ever need help. As a result, many students don’t want to ask questions or seek assistance because of fear of judgment.
Good students, however, are unafraid to ask for help and speak up for themselves when necessary. They recognize their limitations and know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
You can build this trait by becoming confident in your voice. Practicing speaking up in class or expressing yourself through writing can help you build this skill.
Another essential trait of a good student is being responsible. Responsible students understand their obligations and complete tasks promptly.
They are reliable, and others can count on them to do what they say they will do. Being responsible isn’t just about remembering to turn in assignments on time. It also involves being mindful of the consequences of your actions.
Great students take responsibility for their mistakes and learn from them. You can develop this trait by taking ownership of your tasks and speaking up when you make a mistake.
8. Honesty is an Important Trait:
Honesty is the most crucial trait of a good student, and it not only applies to academic integrity but also to being truthful in relationships with your peers and teachers.
This trait is important because it helps build relationships with other people. If your teacher and peers trust you, they are far more likely to help you in a time of need.
Good students understand that honesty is essential for trust and respect. They don’t lie to impress people and take responsibility for their mistakes.
You can build this trait by speaking up when something isn’t right and being open to constructive criticism. Honesty is always the best policy.
9. Intrinsically Motivated:
Good students don’t need external motivation to stay on track. They are motivated by their own goals and dreams and display a positive work ethic.
Intrinsic motivation means that you are motivated by the process of learning and improving, not grades or rewards. Intrinsically motivated students want to learn, grow, and use mistakes as learning opportunities.
Unfortunately, intrinsic motivation is one of the most complicated traits to learn because of the pressure put on many students by their teachers and parents. Identifying what motivates you when other people push you is hard.
The best way to develop this trait is to take the time to think about what you want, what you want to accomplish, and, most importantly, what success looks like to you. Your ideas may not align with what other people think, but that is ok.
10. A good Student is Focused:
The final trait of a good student is focus. Focus is vital for students because it helps them stay on task and avoid distractions.
Good students can manage their time and prioritize what needs their responsibilities. They also have strong concentration skills that help them focus on the task until it is complete, and they know how to do the things that can distract them from accomplishing their goals.
You can build this trait by learning to manage your time, setting realistic goals, and breaking them down into smaller tasks. Creating your study space and removing distractions like your phone can also help. Thinking about your goals and why you want to accomplish them is another method to stay focused.
Developing Traits of A Good Student
All of the traits on this list are far more important than grades. If you can develop these traits of a good student, your grades will improve, you will have more free time, and your future career will be much brighter.
Let’s chat, if you are looking to build these traits. I’m an academic coach, and I have helped hundreds of students reach their potential by developing these traits in a welcoming and accepting environment.
About the Author: John Hyde
I am an educational coach specializing in teaching students academic fundamentals and a growth mindset.
After graduating from Duke University in 2015, I taught at a public middle school from 2016 to 2019. Although I loved working with students in the classroom, the public education system was not teaching students the skills essential to academic success.
I left the classroom in 2019 to start Academic Empowerment Academy. Since then, my coaching program has helped hundreds of students realize their academic potential by assisting them in building confidence and empowering them with the skills and mindset to meet their goals in school and life.
If you’d like to discuss how I can help your teen be more motivated, foster good habits, and improve academic organization/performance, Book a Complimentary Discovery Call Here.
Hi I’m John, author of this blog, academic coach, and founder of AE Academy.
I help teens reach their academic potential by empowering them with academic fundamentals, a growth mindset, and critical thinking.
If your teen is struggling to reach their academic potential, or isn’t learning the skills they need to succeed in school, we should connect.
It’s on me – Book Your Free Call Here