Tree of Life

Dartmouth College

StudentLife is the first study that uses passive and automatic sensing data from the phones of a class of 48 Dartmouth students over a 10 week term to assess their mental health (e.g., depression, loneliness, stress), academic performance (grades across all their classes, term GPA and cumulative GPA) and behavioral trends (e.g., how stress, sleep, visits to the gym, etc. change in response to college workload -- i.e., assignments, midterms, finals -- as the term progresses). To shine a light on student life we develop the first of a kind StudentLife smartphone app and sensing system to automatically infer human behavior. []

In reality faculty, student deans, clinicians know little about their students outside of the classroom.

Students might know about their own circumstances and patterns but know little about classmates.

What are main factors influencing the academic performance of students?

Why do some students do better than others? Under similar conditions, why do some individuals excel while others fail? Why do students burn out, drop classes, even drop out of college? What is the impact of stress, mood, workload, sociability, sleep and mental health on academic performance (i.e., GPA)?

Much of the stress and strain of student life remains hidden.

A student may be a tiny leaf on a large tree.


Students with higher GPA maintain consistent sleep hours and their stress level is kept low. On the other hand, students with lower GPA have trouble sleeping and their stress level fluctuates. While significant correlation between academic performance and mental health was found, much of the factors affecting the academic performance are rooted deeply in students' life outside of the classroom. In order to provide sufficient and appropriate support for the academic journey for students, what are the methods that faculty, administration as well as students themselves could employ? Seeing the trends, could faculty differently design or redesign their course curriculum? Could administrators consider assessing the academic performance of students holistically and creating academic policy? Could students self-monitor their sleep patterns or stress levels and seek support early on? Could the institution create an environment where health and wellness are promoted as central components to student success and students could, without hesitation, easily access the support as preventative measures?