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Academic Buoyancy: First Year Advising & Student Success

Having academic buoyancy means having the capacity to overcome challenges that are part of everyday academic life (Martin, 2013). A combination of four NSSE 2017 survey items serves as a proxy for being buoyant, and it is related to a number of positive student behaviors and perceptions.

Academic Buoyancy First Year Advising Student Success - text below


First Year Advising and Student Success, Academic Buoyancy


Data source: NSSE Spring 2017, National Survey of Student Engagement, n=879 UNF first year undergraduate students (43%) of all first years. 

Academic Buoyancy: The capacity to overcome setbacks, challenges and difficulties that are a part of everyday academic life (A. J. Martin, 2013).1

We combined 4 NSSE Items: This year, how often did you (1) Study when there were other interesting things to do? (2) Find additional information for assignments when you didn’t understand the material? (3) Finish something you had started when you encountered challenges? (4) Stay positive, even when you did poorly on a test or assignment? 2

How is Buoyancy related to other success factors? 3

  • Good Student Behaviors: Students who spend more time studying, visiting the library, doing high-impact-practices, and who have higher GPAs are more buoyant.
  • Doing College: The more buoyant you are, the better you are at managing time, getting help with school work, and using learning support services.
  • Perceived Learning Gains: Buoyant students are more likely to believe they’ve gained skills in writing, speaking, thinking, and quantitative analysis by the end of the first year.
  • Higher Quality Interactions: Students who perceive higher quality interactions with advisors and faculty are more buoyant.
  • Positive UNF Perceptions: Buoyant students are more likely to perceive UNF cares about providing academic support, learning support services, and about their overall wellbeing.
  • Choosing UNF Again: The more buoyant you are, the more generally satisfied, and the more likely you are to say you would choose UNF if you could start all over again.
  1. Martin, A. J. (2013). “Academic buoyancy and academic resilience: Exploring ‘everyday’ and ‘classic’ resilience in the face of academic adversity.” School Psychology International, 34(5), 488-500.
  2. Composite variable with internal consistency measured by Cronbach’s α = .760.
  3. Result of correlational tests. All relationships are statistically significant, p<.05 or more, Pearson's r-values between .200 and .400.

Prepared by the Office of Assessment, June 2018