The culture of American education is largely predicated on acquiring the proverbial golden ticket for entrance to an esteemed college has produced the most anxious, stressed, and sleep-deprived generation ever (Jones & Jones, 2006). As students strive to graduate from high school with perfected profiles that impress and garner admission to these colleges, high school success and educational practices are typically focused on achievement as reflected by test scores, grades, college acceptance results, and scholarship offers (Zins, Bloodworth, Weissberg, & Walberg, 2004). As a result, instead of prioritizing process-oriented learning that is associated with a growth mindset, achievement performance measures focus on extrinsic rewards often linked wit a fixed mindset such as grades, scores, rankings, and awards (Dweck, 2006). As students pursue accolades and marks of achievement, various aspects of learning are supplanted including risk, struggle, persistence, resilience, and growth, often at the expense of character, values, integrity, and psychological well-being (Guang, Hanchao, & Kaping, 2016). The study revealed the relationship between mindset and psychological well-being for a sample of 123 high achieving, college-bound senior students attending private, college-preparatory Christian high schools in Orange County, California. It also reviews the factors related to the college admission process that affects and shapes the life experiences of these students. Quantitative data reveal the relationships and themes related to mindset and psychological well-being and offer insight and strategies that may promote positive, healthier outcomes for college-bound students as well as topics for future research. This study adds to the current body of knowledge related to implicit theories of intelligence, mindset, adolescent psychological well-being, and social emotional learning.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; College attendance -- California -- Orange County; Church schools -- California -- Orange County; Student aspirations -- California -- Orange County

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DellaNeve, James;