Motivational Quotes for Students
For as long as I can remember, I've been a "quote junkie." I have collections of quotes that I use for birthdays, special events, competitions, encouragement, and scrapbooks (to name just a few).
Words from great people aren't just words. They give a level of credibility I cannot. They humanize our heroes and make them relatable. And not all motivational quotes need to be intentionally "motivational." Hearing successful individuals describe their struggles can be a powerful source of reassurance and motivation.
When my oldest son left for college, I didn't want to be an overbearing parent, but I also wanted him to know I was constantly thinking about him. One way I decided to show him support was by sending him texts with motivational quotes. I wish I would have saved every quote that I sent him, but I've recreated most of them on this page!
Motivational Quotes for Students
Be a student as long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
— Henry L. Doherty
As a homeschooler and a firm believer in life long learning, this quote hits home. Doherty was a very successful fellow, a finance tycoon who eventually moved into the oil manufacturing business. Read more of his quotes here.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
— Tony Robbins [source]
Another similar, and arguably more famous, quote by Albert Einstein says that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Motivational Quotes For Students by Famous People
They did not know it was impossible so they did it.
— Mark Twain
This is my favorite motivational quote of all time. And it applies fantastically to students. Tradition and culture constantly enforce artificial limitations on all of us. This quote reminds me of my favorite student success story.
In 1939, a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley named George Dantzig, showed up late for his graduate-level statistics class. There were two problems written on the board. Assuming the problems were a homework assignment, Dantzig quickly scribbled them down and solved them.
These problems were not homework assignments, they were examples of unsolved statistics problems.
If you never try, you’ll never know.
This quote follows the same line of thought as Twain's quote.
Surprisingly, it took years before I discovered this quote by Van Gogh. It won't be the most common motivational quote for student to show up on your search queries, but I think it is refreshingly relevant.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
What is Gandhi really saying? I think he is reminding us to live in the moment and not to waste any time. And when we learn and seek knowledge, we should do it in a way that will last a lifetime.
Quotes for Students by Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the number one richest person in the world. For the fourth year in a row. He has donated billions of dollars to charities and changed the world through technological innovation. Click here to read about more of the ways that Bill Gates has changed the world.
- Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
- It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
- Life is not fair; get used to it.
- I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.
- Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
- I failed in some subjects in the exam but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I’m the owner of Microsoft.
Quotes for Students by Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet is considered by many to be the most successful investors in alive. He is the second wealthiest man in the world thanks to his entrepreneurial and frugal spirit. Through steady investments he was able to eventually become the largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway.
- Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
- Predicting rain doesn't count. Building arks does.
- There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.
- It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction.
Quotes for Students by Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein needs no introduction.
- It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
- Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
- A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
- The only source of knowledge is experience.
- Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.
- Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
- The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
- If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
- Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
- Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
- It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
- Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.
- It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
- We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.
Quotes about the purpose of learning
The journey is the reward.
— Chinese Proverb
This is a good reminder not to place too much weight on letter grades.
Here are some additional quotes by Mortimer Adler, a Aristotelian philosopher.
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
— B. F. Skinner
This reminds us to question, "What is learning? What is education?" Here's the homeschool definition of education.
Quotes for taking action
This is a good reminder that you don't need to wait for a breakthrough moment, you need to create one. The door is almost always open, but you need to turn the handle!
Learning is not a spectator sport.
— D. Blocher
There is plenty of research that supports this quote. When students sit around in a classroom and gaze at a screen, they aren't actively engaging in learning. Research shows that when teachers utilize active learning techniques including regular feedback, writing assignments, and small-group engagement, they foster higher student involvement.
Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
— Will Rogers
Going somewhere is better than staying stagnate and going nowhere. When you mess up, and go in the wrong direction, the smart student will learn from his or her mistake. This reminds me of another quote by Nelson Mandela. "I never lose. I either win or I learn."
There are a lot of Steve Jobs quotes to choose from that may change your life. Jobs legacy is more than just incredible products. I also believe every student should read or watch Steve Job's Stanford commencement address below.
I can't think of a better person to deliver this quote. The famous inventor was fired from his first two jobs because he wasn't productive enough. Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before he invented the light bulb.
Anonymously attributed quotes
- No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.
- Being different is one of the most beautiful things on earth.
- Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.
- Knowledge is being aware of what you can do. Wisdom is knowing when not to do it.
- The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.
- Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.
- The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
I hope this collection of motivational quotes will lead to increased student success! What is your favorite quote?