Document Type


Date of Completion

Spring 4-29-2022


​Behavioral Sciences

Academic Major


Second Academic Major

Leadership & Ministry

Faculty Advisor

Jeremiah Sullins, Ph.D.


There are several definitions of success, and everyone has their own personal take. Some define success as receiving honors, rewards, or having good relationships, while researchers have their own success vocabulary. Although there is a battle between logic and sociality for perceptions of success, it is commonly agreed that success is linear and multifaceted. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of student classification (undergraduate and graduate/professional students) on perceptions of success. Knowing how someone perceives success offers insight into that person. Such insight can equip therapists on ways to personalize a therapeutic approach, including goals and methods to achieve those goals. Fifty participants were randomly recruited for the study (27 undergraduates, 23 graduate/professional) from a private Christian liberal arts university. After having acquired informed consent, participants completed a demographic survey and were categorized by student classification. Then, in a single 15–30-minute session following introduction to the study, participants evaluated two student scenarios related to social and study habits using Life Themes and Values Scale 1: Achievement, Success, and Material Values and Life Themes and Values Scale 2: Social and Interpersonal Values from the Success and Happiness Attributes Questionnaire (SHAQ). Results of the study reveal that overall students rated academia as a greater contributor to success over sociality. However, there was a significant difference (p <0.05) between undergraduates and graduate/professional students on the sociality rating.