The academic model of success in higher education often neglects the role of noncognitive variables, including Emotional Intelligence (EI). As higher education educators turn their attention to learning, scholars are focusing on the role of EI and other noncognitive variables in enhancing learning. Although learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom, this specific study addresses learning as it relates to academic performance. To explore the role of noncognitive factors in predicting academic performance, this study utilizes an initial sample of 864 first-year students at a large research university. The research addresses the value of EI in predicting academic performance as measured by cumulative grade point average (GPA). The role student affairs professionals play in the noncognitive development of students, specifically EI, could enhance student performance inside and outside the classroom. Implications for educators, including student affairs professionals, are addressed.