Defining and Identifying Student Leadership Qualities

Pennsylvania State University honors graduate Jake Newberger majored in mechanical engineering and has a special interest in automatic control systems and robotics. During his university studies, Jacob Newberger demonstrated keen leadership skills, serving the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity as president between 2008 and 2009.

When evaluating students to identify leadership qualities, a number of factors can affect performance and student initiative. Academic performance is just one indicator of a student’s leadership potential, and a high level of academic achievement can demonstrate discipline, work ethic, and maturity. Students who participate in volunteer or extra-curricular activities show a level of social consciousness and a sense of community involvement, both of which are key leadership qualities. Additionally, a student’s interactions with peers, teachers, and other members of society give insight into qualities such as respectfulness, assertiveness, self-confidence, and helpfulness.

Students possessing leadership skills and qualities often learn from their mistakes and are enthusiastic about learning from those around them. Leaders commonly benefit from constructive criticism, demonstrating a desire to improve and challenge their perceptions.


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