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Researchers: College students are overestimating actual abilities

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Being confident is supposed to be a "good thing" right?

Well, some researchers say they've found a disconnect between college students' opinions of themselves and their actual ability.

Some say if you dream it and believe it, you can achieve it.

"I wanna do one of two things, I either want to go into film making or I want to do advertising. I'd also like to teach abroad," said Vallerie Trachsler.

"I just wanna play music with friends and, you know, affect people's lives in any way that I can," said Peter Johansen.

"I would love to be, like, a fashion photographer," Maggie Delamater.

Since 1966, about 9 million young people have taken the American Freshman Survey, which asks students to rate themselves compared to their peers.

The study finds more college students consider themselves "above average" in the areas of academic ability, drive, mathematics and self-confidence.

"If you have the energy and you do it, you can do it, but if you don't do anything, then you won't get there," Trachsler said.

"I think there needs to be a little bit of soul in the pictures, otherwise, it's just a flat ad," Delamater said. "I can capture who they are in pictures."

"Anytime you have a dream, don't let anybody tell you that you can't accomplish that dream and always strive for what you believe in," Johansen said.

Another study reports many students suffer from 'ambition inflation,' meaning their ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations.

"Everybody has their own reality and to say something isn't realistic, is not an intelligent statement because there is nothing in this life that's realistic if you really think about it," Johansen said.

The data suggests students today are convinced of their own greatness regardless of whether they've accomplished anything.

"I'm planning on doing an exchange program with the National Student Exchange, in New York. It's not really set in stone yet, but maybe I can get, like, an internship while I'm there or do a lot of networking," Trachsler said.

The study also finds high self-confidence does not, in fact, lead to success. As expectations grow and are not realized, there is an increase in anxiety and depression.

"My family... they're not like, go for it, you can do it, but they're not telling me not to," Delamater said.

"My parents, they haven't always been the most supportive, but they do try. We just have different mindsets on certain things," Johansen said.

They may have lofty goals, but these young adults also have backup plans.

"I would be a lawyer or something like that, that I could make a lot of money and support my family," Johansen said.

"Ever since I was a little kid I always felt like I could be a realtor, so if I don't become a fashion photographer, I might end up selling houses," Delamater said.

The researchers blame the disconnect on celebrity culture, social media, and parenting trends of easy credit.

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