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Is Diligence More Important Than Intelligence?

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  1. Many universities take an old-school approach to higher education that is steeped in tradition and perpetuates the status quo.

  2. A new higher ed study challenges the status quo by suggesting that the most valued dimension of an ideal student is diligence, not intelligence.

  3. Ranking the eight dimensions of an “ideal student” highlights “potential inequalities driven by implicit and unspoken rules of higher education.”

Overall, these survey findings suggest that in higher education, both students and educators value the conscientiousness of a hard-working and enthusiastic learner who is engaged over someone with high intelligence who is academically gifted.

8 Dimensions of an “Ideal Student” (Wong, DeWitt, & Chiu, 2021)

  1. Diligence and engagement

  2. Organization and discipline

  3. Reflection and innovation

  4. Positive and confident outlook

  5. Supportive of others

  6. Academic skills

  7. Employability skills

  8. Intelligence and strategic approach


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