The role of hope in college retention


College retention, Hope, Higher education, Motivation, First-year students


Students' decision to persist in college is influenced by their entering academic skills and motivation (i.e., hope). Researchers have shown positive relations between high-school academic performance and hope on college retention, independently. Hope emphasizes goal pursuit, focusing on one's motivation to pursue goals and ability to identify tenable routes for goal achievement. The present study extends existing research by examining the role of first-year, first-semester college hope as a moderator of the relation between high-school academic performance and college retention among 276 first-year college students (Mage = 18.67, 65% female). Findings supported the expected moderation for students with average and above-average but not low high school academic performance, such that students with high hope had increased, whereas students with low hope had decreased, odds of retention. Given that hope is malleable and teachable, implications for implementing hope skills training at both course and institution level are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Bryce, C. I., Fraser, A. M., Fabes, R. A., & Alexander, B. L. (in press).The role of hope in college retention. Learning and Individual Differences.IF1.92.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Learning and Individual Differences




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Graduate Student