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Longview - Hope Project

This guide provides information and resources on researching hope for student and faculty participating in the HOPE project.

What is HOPE?

Hope is characterized as a human strength manifested in our perceived capacities to: (a) clearly conceptualize goals (goals thinking), (b) develop the specific strategies to reach those goals (pathways thinking), and (c) initiate and sustain the motivation for using those strategies (agency thinking).

Hope is goal-directed thinking in which people perceive that they can produce routes to desired goals (pathways thinking) and the requisite motivation to use those routes (agency thinking).

Four core beliefs of hope:

  1.     That the future will be better than the present
  2.     I have the power to make it so
  3.     There are many paths to my goals
  4.     None of them are free from obstacles

“I'll find a way to get this done,” “I can do this,” and “I am not going to be stopped” are examples of hope messages. Pathways and agency thinking are stronger in high-hope individuals (as compared to low-hope people) and it is especially evident when the goals are important and when people are confronted with challenges or obstacles.

Source: C. R. Snyder, Hope Researcher.

Image provided by Psychology Today


  • It matters— from the research over the last 20 years, researchers have gained a clearer understanding of the relationships between hope and important aspects of students' lives. Put simply, research demonstrates that more hopeful students do better in school and life than less hopeful students.
  • Hope predicts GPA and retention in college, and hope scores are more robust predictors of college success than high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.  From Hope, Academic Success, and the Gallup Student Pool by Shane J. Lopez 2009.
  • Hope predicts academic achievement, and the predictive power of hope remains significant even when controlling for intelligence, prior grades, self-esteem, personality, and college entrance examination scores such as high school GPA and ACT/SAT.
  • Students with high levels of hope get better grades and graduate at higher rates than those with lower levels, and that the presence of hope in a student is a better predictor of grades and class ranking than standardized test scores.
  • Hopeful students graduated at rates 16 percent higher than non-hopeful students.
  • A longitudinal study of more than 100 students at two British universities found that hope was a better predictor of academic success than intelligence, personality or previous scholarly achievement.
  • Hope also has been linked to self-efficacy and scholastic competence, as well as problem-solving.
  • Hope is positively associated with perceived competence and self-worth and negatively associated with symptoms of depression.
  • High-hope students typically are more optimistic, develop many life goals, and perceive themselves as being capable of solving problems that may arise.
  • Hope is linked consistently to attendance and credits earned.
  • Hopeful high school students and beginning college students have higher overall grade point averages.
  • Hope can be learned. Hope can be shared with others. Hope is a choice. Hope can be increased through interventions.
  • These interventions are at minimal cost and students can be impacted throughout the college if all personnel are trained in the language and the model of hope and understand how to build hope in students.