What Is the Connection between Self-Esteem and Academic Achievement?

Esther Ejim

Self-esteem is a term that is used in reference to the basic or innate feelings or perceptions that an individual has about his or herself. The importance of self-esteem stems from the manner in which a good self-esteem or the lack of the same can affect an individual’s quality of life. Low self-esteem is considered a negative factor due to the fact that is causes a decreased level of confidence in the individual and also has the ability to stop the person from achieving his or her full potential. As such, self-esteem and academic achievement are linked by the manner in which the latter affects the level of self-esteem in the individual.

Academic achievement may help contribute to high self-esteem.
Academic achievement may help contribute to high self-esteem.

Some people are lucky enough to have a well-balanced sense of self-esteem that comes from within and from a basic belief in themselves or in something that gives them a sense of peace with themselves. Other people who may not have the same must constantly look to external factors to help them validate their value as a human being or as a person. Sometimes, people who may have been exposed to negative circumstances that may have stripped them of their confidence or belief in themselves will strive to achieve ever-increasing levels of success as a means of reaffirming their worth or value. To such people, factors like academic achievement serve as indicators that they are not failures. Academics also serve the purpose of giving them a tangible factor from which they can derive some sense of satisfaction at what they have been able to achieve.

Children with low self-esteem may be discouraged from excelling academically.
Children with low self-esteem may be discouraged from excelling academically.

Just like material wealth or physical beauty, self-esteem and academic achievement are connected by the way in which people can draw from the sense of accomplishment or boost associated with such factors to lift their self-esteem. An example of this can be seen in the case of someone who may have been abandoned as a child and disregarded by foster parents who had custody of the individual over the years. This development could lead to such people to feelings of inferiority as well as feelings of inadequacy. The ability to excel at tasks like their academics will serve as a means from which they can reassert their worth and value as human beings. As such, self-esteem and academic achievement are related by the fact that achievements in the academic field contribute to developing a sense of self-worth in the individual.

A person with low self-esteem may not strive for success.
A person with low self-esteem may not strive for success.
A student who feels accomplished in their education will have a higher self-esteem.
A student who feels accomplished in their education will have a higher self-esteem.

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