Top 5 Movies for College Motivation

While watching movies might not always be considered “study”, there’s no doubt that we all need to take a break from time to time. Some of these films provide the encouragement we all need to make it to that 9 am lecture. Some just remind you that we’re lucky to not be in the real world yet. So kick back, grab some popcorn, and get ready to feel inspired.


This is definitely one for the English students. Robin William’s provides a winning portrayal as a teacher desperate to renew creativity in a stuffy boarding school. Literary references abound, but the real heart of this film is in the characters. Throughout the movie the young students find their own individuality even under their school regime. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll probably write some bad poetry. Just don’t start a Dead Poet’s soc on campus.




Pitch Perfect reminds us that college is about more than assigned readings. Every fresher has gone through the awkwardly trying to fit in stage, and Beca, played by Anna Kendrick is no different. In a somewhat unique effort to fit in, Beca finds herself thrust into an acapella clique war. Want to join the college choir? This is the movie for you.



The Great Gatsby of college movies, St Elmo’s Fire presents us with a group of characters who are complex and intriguing, but not all that likeable. The cast sports many of the same actors involved in the 80s cult classic The Breakfast Club. Set after their college graduation, these self-involved students must try to find their own way in the world.




OK, I might be a bit of a Robin Williams fan, but this movie articulates the difference between the blue collar working world and one of academic snobbery. In his breakthrough movie Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a mathematical genius working as a janitor, who has difficulty realising his own potential. After assaulting a cop, Will finds himself in a court ordered therapy session with Sean (Robin Williams) and ultimately realises his importance.




And you thought I’d leave Elle Woods off this list. Although the young sorority socialite sets out to win back her boyfriend, she soon sees the error of her ways, and climbs to the top of her class.  Feminism, frills, and felonies combine to make this film one of the most encouraging to students, showing that anyone can study hard and make it in Maynooth. Or Harvard. Whatever.




These films show us a huge range of different characters and students. Yet like the vast majority of students in college, they all have one common goal – to succeed. So whether you’re a first year arts student, or a third year Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, there may be hope for you yet. And, hey, if you don’t find yourself motivated by these movies, at least you didn’t spend all that time like, actually studying.