Academic advisors need to be knowledgeable of the ways students learn. To aid advisors in their exploration of learning theories, I provide an overview of the attribution theory of learning, including recent applications of the theory to research in college student learning. An understanding of this theory may help advisors understand student self-perceptions and academic motivation. This theory may be especially useful to advisors working with students on academic probation, and potential applications of the theory to advising students on academic probation are discussed. Suggestions for future research on student attributions and students' attempts to return to good standing are provided.

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Author notes

Cynthia Demetriou is the Director for Retention in the Office of Undergraduate Education and faculty advisor for Carolina Firsts, the student organization for first-generation college students, at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. She earned a master's degree in Education from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Ms. Demetriou is currently enrolled in the Educational Psychology, Measurement and Evaluation PhD program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has also taken course work in educational psychology at New York University. Her research interests include applications of positive psychology in higher education, undergraduate retention, and academic motivation. Ms. Demetriou can be reached at