A survey of 2,520 college students was conducted to test relationships between academic success and college student motivational orientation, conceptualized from a self-determination theory (SDT) perspective, while also considering the moderating effects of background characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic status, race/ ethnicity, and institutional type. Findings indicated that going to college to fulfill intrinsic motivation needs for autonomy and competence was positively associated with intention to persist and GPA but that motivation geared toward the fulfillment of relatedness needs had a more nuanced relationship to the outcome variables. Implications for recognizing the importance of motivational orientation in student affair research, theory, and practice are provided.