BCM212 Research Proposal- Understanding Success in a University Setting

As a perfectionist, I strive to be the best I can be, I strive for success. To understand success we need its definition, success can be defined as achieving the results wanted or hoped for. Universities also aim for success from their students. Success is measured is in numerical form and provided to students after submitting assessments and exams. For students to achieve success at a university level, they require academic success beyond high school. They need to be capable of becoming learners capable of how to learn, ask questions and submit ideas if they wish to gain success in a university setting (McKenzie & Schweitzer, 2001).

Online learning has been a difficult time, especially for those in university. Due to this transition from on-campus learning to online learning, some students have experienced their grades decline from their usual standard. I myself have felt my grades have largely remained the same, keeping in mind I had no prior university experience. For the most part, I have felt my grades have represented a successful outcome. Although I feel I have accomplished successful results, I am curious to know if my idea of success is shared amongst my fellow peers and hence my interest in the topic. It is my belief that researching this topic will allow for a deeper understanding of how success is measured by collecting and analysing university student responses.

It is said that 1 in 5 Australian University students drop out of university (year13, 2019). Is this because of feelings of failure? or is successfulness a quality only certain students possess?

Upon reflecting on my previous year and results and more specifically reflecting on what I felt made me a “successful” student, I look back on the things I did that allowed me to focus on my studies. The first quality/trait I felt I was confident with was my time management. A study titled “Who is a Successful University Student? An Analysis of Personal Resources” conducted in 2015, determined that 73.7% of participants agreed time management was a term to best describe “Executive functioning”. This theme labelled as “executive functioning” also included terms such as planning and preparation, skills I believe I also possess. This statistic revealed that students who believed they were good with their time management, preparation and planning skills, were able to reach their goals more successfully than those who struggled to juggle their time, had no preparation for tasks or lacked planning their time wisely and to their advantage.

Quality students identify as being crucial for their success is motivation. Motivation is the need or the reason for doing something (Cambridge Dictionary 2021). In a university setting, motivation is directly related to what drives students to regularly attend classes, complete their work and whether or not they are active participants and learners (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1993). Many students noticed their motivation levels decreased during the transition to online learning. Motivation played a large role in my results. The classes I found to enjoy most, I had a significantly larger desire to stay motivated and work on and therefore experienced a better, more successful result than in the classes I took but found myself with very little motivation. Motivation is very personal.

To begin my research into my topic, I decided to publish a few polls on Twitter to see how students in BCM212 were feeling in regards to success in a university setting.

I found these polls to be great indicators as to what others were thinking in regards to what success is in regards to grades as this is the format used by universities to measure success. The poll on the left clearly showed that 86% of the participants felt that online learning had affected their grades. The poll on the right provides insight into what most students believe is a successful grade, a grade in the 70-80 range. I find that this popular opinion also aligns with my views of a successful grade.

It is my hope during my time in BCM212 that I can explore the world of success and deepen my understanding of what it truly means to accomplish success in a university setting. What qualities does a “successful university student” possess? And Can these qualities be found in everyone?

I believe that this is a research topic that I will be able to thoroughly complete during BCM212 promptly because it centres on the responses of my fellow BCM212 students. It can be completed through polls and questionnaires as well as previous research made in similar fields of study. From responses from my fellow peers and previous studies and research, I will be able to compare results and come up with my own conclusion, if different, from previous studies on what success, looks like in a university setting.


Cambridge Dictionary 2021, success, @CambridgeWords, viewed 17 March 2021, <https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/success&gt;.

Cambridge Dictionary 2021, motivation, @CambridgeWords, viewed 18 March 2021, <https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/motivation&gt;.

Levy, S & Campbell, H 2008, ‘Student Motivation: Premise, Effective Practice and Policy’, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 33, no. 5, viewed 22 March 2021, <https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1494&context=ajte&gt;.

MacKenzie, K & Schweitzer, R 2001, ‘Who Succeeds at University? Factors Predicting Academic Performance in First Year Australian University Students | QUT ePrints’, Qut.edu.au, viewed 22 March 2021, pp. 21-33. <https://eprints.qut.edu.au/56040/&gt;.

Pintrich, PR, David, Duncan, T & Mckeachie, WJ 1993, Reliability and Predictive Validity of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), ResearchGate, SAGE Publications, viewed 22 March 2021, <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247727872_Reliability_and_Predictive_Validity_of_the_Motivated_Strategies_for_Learning_Questionnaire_MSLQ&gt;.

‌Stelnicki, A.M., Nordstokke, D.W. and Saklofske, D.H. (2015). Who Is the Successful University Student? An Analysis of Personal Resources. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, viewed 17 March 2021 45(2), pp.214–228.

year13 2019, Here Comes The Drop – University Report, YouthSense, viewed 17 March 2021, <https://youthsense.com.au/research/here-comes-the-drop-university-report/&gt;.

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