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Control and college students sample essay

Locus of control refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in his or her life either in general or in specific are such as health or academics. This basically implies our thoughts control our actions, when this executive function of thinking is realized it positively affects our beliefs, motivation and academic performance. It can be internal where a person believes that they control themselves or external that they are controlled by their environment, some higher power or other people control them.

If a person has an internal locus of control, that person attributes his success to his efforts and abilities. The development of locus of control stems from family, culture and the past experiences that leads to rewards. Most internals come from families that focused on efforts, education and responsibility. On the other hand eternal come from families of low social economic status where there is a lack of life control. Developing an external locus of control is an adaptive response to living in prolonged circumstances without control.

Research has shown that people are likely to develop internal locus of control if they life in family environments characterized by warmth, protection and nurturance. It may not a surprise that people who have faced trauma or are living with right now have external locus of control. Locus of control influences the life of an individual in all aspects academically, socially and also financially. These are the determinants of the quality of life. Locus of control and college students

Academically, a person who expects to pass will be motivated to learn; will seek in formation and likely to have good study habits and a positive academic attitude. A person with an external locus of control attributes his success to luck or fate and makes less effort to learn. He will experience anxiety because he believes he is not in control of his life. The students with an internal locus of control have better adjustments to college in term of academic achievement and social adjustment. This is caused by a strong inner being and the understanding that he has an upper hand in his life.

They are able to live with people from all walks of life because they know what can affect them is the decisions they themselves make. They are not subject to the ideas of the multitudes they are able to put a clear distinction between what they want in life and what the society dictates to them (Njus & Brockway, 1999). A study found that college students with a high internal locus of control did well in distance learning. They enjoy learning situations that require a certain amount of independence from the learner.

They are able to put effort in their studies because they believe they can make it no matter the situations they face. This inner drive and self confidence in these students motivates them to do even better though they have to work extra hard (Dille & Mezack, 1991). For students with an internal locus of control, they must attribute their success to their efforts. They have to develop an individualized learning plan that includes their goals and how to achieve them. It also contains a time frame and the outcome they expect.

On the other hand students with an external locus control, they were likely to withdraw from their courses. They are also correlated with failure though it may not be very significant. These students need a lot of encouragement and guidance from the tutors. This makes their success a matter of combined efforts with the reluctance of the tutor these students face difficulties in finding success which is highly affected and threatened (Pugliese, 1994). Female college students are more inclined to take responsibility for failure.

Male students tend to attribute their failure to external or unstable causes while the female attributes their failure to internal causes which appears to be an over simplification. Female students are fond of blaming themselves on issues of failure more compared to male students. This has been known to cause stress during exams and a lot of tension which affects their performance negatively. Male students have been found to associate their failure to lack of efforts more as compared to female students. Locus of control is highly associated with stress levels, emotional resilience and need for achievement.

Locus of control cannot be separated from the ability to be embarrassed. Differences in embarrassment are highly determined by the locus of control. Embarrassment is a form of social anxiety that occurs when a person’s public identity in a particular situation is threatened. The individuals possessing an internal locus of control have a higher embarassability than those with an external locus. The individuals with internal locus of control take everything that happens to them upon themselves hence their failures are points of much embarrassments (Robinson 1991).

Deeming control over events in ones life may not led to a superior lifestyle. When an individual tries to change a situation that is unchangeable it causes frustration, disappointment, and depression. When the forces from outside takes the control of behavior consequences, the most realistic and healthy approach is an external orientation (Hock, 2001). In the light of this matter people with an internal locus of control will feel they control the events that occur in their live. It is possible that the responsibility of controlling what happens will turn to guilt when undesirable situations arise.

This will cause this individuals play there games cool and also be very careful with the decisions they make for the fear of being embarrassed (Hock, 2001). The students with an internal locus of control have high levels of personal responsibilities and are likely to experience many changes of interest. This will be due to fear of failure because mostly they never come in to terms with failure. As long as these individuals are internally motivated and convinced that whatever they want to engage in will make their ego or self esteem increase they will go for it.

Out of a research it was found that internal locus of control positively relates to confidence, behavior intent and actual behavior concerning weight loss. If these individuals believe that smoking would their weight prohibiting weight gain, appetite change, and reduced weight they would opt to go for it (Holt, Clark, and Kreutzer, 2001). The internal focus of control and the family structure it also appears to be reasonable to believe that career goals and reasonable behavior are signs of adjustment.

There is a reasoning that students who become leaders might aspire to more prestigious careers that might further testify to their psychological and social adjustment. The purpose of the study was also to address the question of the variables that are related to the leadership behavior which seems to clearly signify the adjustment. There was an assessment of independent and combined esteem of self esteem of focus control carrier goals leadership behavior and family structure. Those students who were identified being high in leadership potential seemed to be higher in self esteem.

Had internal focus of control and would have more carrier aspirations and would have two biological parent family compared to those who had an external focus of control (Haworth & Iso-Ahola, 1997). Almost every college or university claims that their campus has a drinking problem. More police may be released during the evening hours so as to discourage drinking among students. Programs are implemented trying to teach students about safe ways to drink alcohol and to recognize alcohol related problems. In all these situations the campus and the students try to reduce the behavior of drinking.

When discussing norms one should differentiate between descriptive norms and the inductive norms. The descriptive norms describe actual behavior e. g. the behavior of drinking alcoholic beverages. An inductive norm would represent approval of the drinking behavior. In 2003 Borsari and Bosari had conducted meta-analysis concerning the effects of inductive norms along with the normative norms in relation to drinking behaviors in college and any other discrepancies, which involves the differences in beliefs between self and judgments of others (Haworth & Iso-Ahola, 1997).

Someone with an internal locus of control will most likely believe in working to be a good person so that they can reach a higher spiritual state. It has been seen that college students with high level of religiosity also have high academic achievements and are mostly those with in internal locus of control. Believing in the faith influences everyday life and perception of being a good student which has great implications to locus of control. External locus of control has been described as individuals attributing life events to luck, fate or external forces.

In deed external locus of control has been found to correlate with belief in superstitious phenomena. Locus of control, optimism and self esteem are good indicators of well being. People with high internal locus of control tend to be happier and able to deal with life difficulties in a healthier way. People with low self esteem will tend to explain any success they have by attributing it to luck rather than their own abilities. While those with high self esteem will associate it to qualities within themselves. It can be attributed with the fact that they make decisions and they are ready to pay the cost for the consequences.

The students with an internal locus of control are able to adjust to changes and can modify their way of life to suit the current environment to prevent the environment from dictating the outcome of their efforts. People with internal locus of control spend much time focusing in the positive things and can take risk to self disclosure. They will always appear confident and persuasive; they are very out spoken and have a lot of influence to the rest of the students. Their ideal seems always superior and they will force them into actions.

They are more innovative in efforts to attain more fame out of their achievements. They are risk takers in all fields that can make them acquire fame and priority. They are focused and mostly have a very liberal way of life. They plan ahead mostly they appear stress free but they are highly affected by things fame and excellence but not other aspects of life (Haworth. John & Iso-Ahola. S (1997). Students with an external locus of control, because of locating their control outside themselves, those students with external locus control feel that they have less control over their fate.

These college students tend to be more stressed and are prone to clinical depression. With internals they exhibit two essential characteristics which are the high achievement motivation and low-directedness. This basis of the locus of control was proposed by Rotter in 1966 (Baum, 1997). Rotter’s undimensionality has been challenged by Levension who argued that different dimensions of locus of control like the belief that events in ones life are self-determined are chance based and organized by others. Locus of control has impact upon smoking behavior among college students.

A study indicated that, smokers who tend to resume smoking after are among college students who have external locus of control. Those students who persistently avoid cigarettes believe that they have a great power of control over their lives compared to those who resume smoking (Baum, 1997). Disability among the students can be associated to development of external locus of control. This is accelerated by impairment, where it affects individual’s ability to cope with daily activities. This implies those able to handle their daily activities can develop internal locus of control.

Acknowledgement of their conditions and contentment with what the can achieve in their conditions builds an internal locus of control. This increases with appreciation and encouragement from the entire society. Locus of control has a lot of influences on sexual behaviors of college students. Individuals with external locus of control are more likely to involve themselves sin more risky sexual practices. Conclusion Academically, a person who expects to pass will be motivated to learn; will seek in formation and likely to have good study habits and a positive academic attitude.

A person with an external locus of control attributes his success to luck or fate and makes less effort to learn. He will experience anxiety because he believes he is not in control of his life. The students with an internal locus of control have better adjustments to college in term of academic achievement and social adjustment. This is cause by a strong inner being and the understanding that he has an upper hand in his life. They are able to live with people from all walks of life because they know what can affect them is the decisions they themselves make (Viorst, 1999).


Baum Andrew (1997): Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine; ISBN 0521436869, Cambridge University Press. Dille, B. & Mezack, M. (1991): Identifying predictors of high risk among community college telecourse students. American Journal of Distance Education 5 (1), 24-35. Haworth. John & Iso-Ahola. S (1997): Work, Leisure and Well-being; ISBN 0415017033, Routledge. Hock, H. R. (2001): Forty Studies that Changed Psychology (4th ed). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Holt, C. L. , Clark, E. M. , & Kreuter, M. W. (2001): Weight locus of control and weightrelated attitudes and behaviors in an overweight population.

Addictive Behaviors, 26, 329-340. Njus, D. M. & Brockway, J. H. (1999): Perceptions of competence and locus of control for positive and negative outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences 26, 531-548. Pugliese, R. R. (1994): Telecourse persistence and psychological variables. American Journal of Distance Education, 8 [3], 22-39. Robinson, J. P. (1991): Measure of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes. San Diego: Academic Press Viorst Judith (1999): Imperfect Control: Our Lifelong Struggles with Power and Surrender; ISBN 0684848147, Simon & Schuster.

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