Although progressive efforts have been made on improving student performance and retention, students’ success in higher education continues to decline. The inability to connect the cognitive and affective domains in student development has resulted in poorly prepared students in society. This study examined the role of emotional intelligence in the academic achievement of first year college students. Additional data examined included first semester grade point averages, SAT scores, gender, and ethnicity. The results of this study showed that there is a significant correlation between emotional intelligence skills and the academic achievement of first year college students. Findings also suggest a significant relationship between emotional intelligence skills and academic achievement according to gender and ethnicity. Furthermore, the results showed that SAT scores, when coupled with emotional intelligence skills, can better predict academic achievement. Self-management skills were significantly related to academic achievement.