Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Little can be predicted about what the jobs of the future may look like. The most likely path to success, though, is through a college education. College not only provides graduates high salaries and more job stability, it also develops critical thinking, enhances relationship skills, and is correlated with increased well-being. Unfortunately, college access is not equal. First generation college students, students of color, and students living in poverty are not as likely to attend and graduate from college. GPA and test scores can predict 25% of college success; the remaining 75% is unknown. This paper posits that part of that gap can be explained by social emotional skills. The paper begins with an overview of positive psychology and refutes the arguments against it, then narrows to discuss the role of positive psychology in education. While many avenues of positive psychology can be used in education, this paper focuses on prospective selves, goal-setting, and implementation interventions as a means to drive college motivation and academic behaviors and develops a two day intervention for approximately 1,100 ninth grade students in the Uplift Education charter network. This paper sets up the intervention and proposes ways to measure the outcomes. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for education equality in America.


Prospective Selves, Implementation Interventions, Goal Setting, First Generation, Students of Color, Charter Schools, College Access. Identity Based Motivation, Prospective Selves Positive Education, Positive Psychology


Well-Being/Flourishing, Education, Motivation, Goal-Setting



Date Posted: 04 September 2015