Thrivers and Divers: Using Non-Academic Measures to Predict College Success and FailureGraham Beattie, Jean-William P. Laliberté, and Philip OreopoulosNBER Working Paper No. 22629September 2016JEL No. I2,I23,J24ABSTRACTWe collect a comprehensive set of non-academic characteristics for a representative sample ofincomingfreshman to explore which measures best predict the wide variance in first-year collegeperformanceunaccounted for by past grades. We focus our attention on student outliers.Studentswhose first-yearcollege average is far below expectations (divers) have a high propensity forprocrastination – theyself-report cramming for exams and wait longer before startingassignments. They are also considerablyless conscientious than their peers. Divers are morelikely to express superficial goals, hoping to 'getrich' quickly. In contrast, students who exceedexpectations (thrivers) express more philanthropic goals,are purpose-driven, and are willing tostudy more hours per week to obtain the higher GPA they expect.A simple seven-variableaverage of these key non-academic variables does well in predicting collegeachievement relativeto adding more variables or letting a machine-algorithm choose.Our results,descriptive innature, warrant further research on the importance of non-linearities for the design andtargetingof successful interventions in higher-education.