Rice University researchers say there is a link between a personality trait and high grade point averages among college students.

A recent study examines research that analyzes how the “big five” personality traits – agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience – affect college grade point averages.

The researchers discovered a link between higher levels of conscientiousness and high grade point averages. No correlation to grade point average was discovered with the other personality traits.

Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice and the study’s lead author, said the new study could be used among college admission offices and employers, who use personality tests to measure potential for success.

“Research on these personality tests helps us gain a better understanding of how various personality traits may affect academic outcomes and other important life outcomes,” McAbee said in a statement.

High-school grade-point averages or test scores, keys to college admission, may not alone predict how a student will perform in college, said Fred Oswald, professor of psychology and the study’s co-author.

“Of course, institutions like Rice provide intellectual environments for any student to flourish,” Oswald said. “But because college admissions generally does not select directly or heavily on personality traits, admitted students who score higher on measures of conscientiousness will tend to excel in academic pursuits above and beyond what their high-school grade-point averages or achievement test scores would suggest by themselves.”

The study, “The Criterion-Related Validity of Personality Measures for Predicting GPA: A Meta-Analytic Validity Competition,” analyzed 51 previous studies published between 1992 and 2012 that investigated the relationship between personality traits and college grade point average.

The studies used one of the five common tests for personality to measure the link between personality traits and grade point average. The tests ask people to rate how much they agree or disagree with statements of descriptions about themselves.

The authors hope more research will be conducted on personality traits and student success.

“Grade point average is just one of many factors that can predict student performance and long-term success,” McAbee said. “We hope our findings will encourage research that investigates how different personality traits impact important outcomes.”