Study: High School Success Indicates Achievement In Life

Everyone who has lived through high school knows it can be a roller coaster with plenty of ups and downs. However, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association, if you can make it in high school you can make it in the world.

Research says high school success indicates - The everyday mom life

The research, from the University of Tübingen, was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and states that being a conscientious high school student and maintaining an interest in school can impact success for decades to come.

More specifically, good reading and writing skills could be predictors of educational and work-related achievement throughout life. This was shown irrespective of IQ, parental socioeconomic status and other personality considerations.

The authors analyzed data from the American Institutes for Research from 346,660 United States high school students in 1960, following up with 81,912 of those students 11 years later and finally 1,952 of them 50 years later.

“Educational researchers, political scientists and economists are increasingly interested in the traits and skills that parents, teachers and schools should foster in children to enhance chances of success later in life,” said lead author Marion Spengler, PhD, in a story with the American Psychological Association. “Our research found that specific behaviors in high school have long-lasting effects for one’s later life.”

The original high school phase of the research measured student behaviors, attitudes, personality traits, cognitive abilities, economic status and other demographics. Additional phases of the research reviewed educational achievement, income and occupational stature.

Findings show that having an interest in school and having fewer issues with reading and writing were significantly associated with greater educational success and finding better, high-paying jobs in 11 and 50 years after high school. After 50 years it was also associated with having a higher income.

Even when researchers controlled for parental socioeconomic status, cognitive ability and other personality traits, the same results were observed.

“Student characteristics and behaviors were rewarded in high school and led to higher educational attainment, which in turn was related to greater occupational prestige and income later in life,” she said. “This study highlights the possibility that certain behaviors at crucial periods could have long-term consequences for a person’s life.”

While Spengler noted in the APA interview that the findings weren’t surprising, she did point out that it was interesting how reliable specific behaviors are at being able to predict later success. The data additionally suggests that the overall educational achievement could have the greatest effect.

Read the full journal article here. For more news and research, click here.

About the Author

Author with 256 posts
More about Rachel

Recent Articles


  • Kristen Oliver February 28, 2018 07.40 pm

    This research makes sense, because for any job you need to be able to adequately read and write and work with people. However I think knowing this in high school can be very overwhelming and cause too much pressure for some students, causing them to not succeed due to fear of failure.

  • Cassie February 28, 2018 08.07 pm

    This makes sense, and was true for me.

  • Krissy February 28, 2018 08.08 pm

    I was definitely a nerd in high school and took my academic career pretty seriously. I can’t speak for others, but it did wonders for me. I pursued my Master’s degree in a field I love and absolutely love my job.
    Krissy |

  • Kendra February 28, 2018 09.09 pm

    Interesting read, my achievements in HS gave me great confidence for college!

  • Tatiana February 28, 2018 10.37 pm

    I went to the school in different country with a different education system but I am pretty sure statistically it will be the same

  • veronica bolton March 01, 2018 03.20 am

    I wish I took High School a little bit more serious. but I felt like it was all too easy so I slacked really bad. I skipped school a lot but I always had A’s and B’s. and I went to college and got my CNA, hair license, nail tech license, and got my real estate license, and now I’m getting my medical billing license. everything is just so boring to me.. lol.

  • Jalice March 01, 2018 03.39 am

    This is an interesting study and makes a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kayla March 01, 2018 05.44 am

    I agree with this 100% and I love that you included research to back it up!

  • Lexi March 01, 2018 03.24 pm

    Interesting post! I think writing skills are so important and can be used in so many different job aspects!

  • Julie March 01, 2018 03.32 pm

    I still have a long journey ahead until my girls are in high school. My oldest daughter is in Kindergarten this year. I want them to be very successful throughout grade school, high school, college, and in life.

  • Cristina – Memories of the Pacific March 01, 2018 05.39 pm

    I always took school very seriously. I studied really hard in university and high school and that way I learnt the satisfaction of achieving things through hard work

  • Barbara Alfeo March 01, 2018 09.46 pm

    Oh geez, let’s just put more pressure on it! Such interesting info. But seriously, the pressure!

  • EscapeWriters March 03, 2018 08.52 am

    Overall education achievements are really important. Yes some are extremely talented but for others step by step education is a perfect way.. Thanks.

  • Kendra – The Kreative Life March 03, 2018 03.12 pm

    I agree! I enjoyed reading and writing all through high school and into college and it has helped me tremendously.

  • Afra March 05, 2018 05.48 am

    This was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t take my high school years very seriously. And I had a really tough time in university.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow The Everyday Mom Life

Featured On