This question has consistently shadowed me since I was in high school. I wondered if the grades I got at that present period would truly affect anything in the future. I thought of its impact on future choices that would be available to me, the types of careers that could open, and the opportunities behind locked doors that were gated by “75% or more to get into Math this and that.”
During my undergrad years, my peers and I would doubt our choices according to grade. “Should I even be in business if my GPA is at (insert whatever number here)?” Then, when students received grades at the end of the semester, hasty calculations of GPAs were made. Afterwards, the seemingly proverbial question among all generations of students reverberated internally among peers behind blank eyes, “should I just drop out?”
After graduation, the question returns. “Well, I had this GPA, surely I can get a career started and going right?” The zealous job hunting early post-grad says, “I HAD A 3.9 GPA, I DESERVE THIS NOW!” as they chug their fourth cup of coffee of the day (at 9a.m.) after day 293 of prospecting.
In the earlier years of post-secondary, my peers and I oversteered towards a preoccupation on grades, and its value. Grades became a zero-sum achievement. It became an endpoint which declared you either won, or nothing at all. The grades were not the end. In those earlier years, we missed that ultimately, it is how well an individual can negotiate the value of a grade that was strategically important. In this discussion, my hope is to provide a survey that can demonstrate the merits of good grades, and a further elaboration on the point made above. With that, let’s start.
Do your grades matter?
Good grades provide you with a stronger foundation in accessing possibilities. Grades can determine the classes available to a student, the opportunities opened by those classes, and the experiences from a class that can mold a student towards further development. Classes are a source of both hard and soft skills. Hard skills can be defined as those directly needed to perform a task. Soft skills are auxiliary in aiding an individual’s ability to function exceptionally in work. For example, a taxi driver needs the hard skill to navigate a vehicle safely and adeptly. For soft skill, a taxi driver may need interpersonal skills to ensure an amicable and welcoming atmosphere for customers. These skills provided by classes are important in the development of a student for other classes, or for future career advancements. Even if a particular class is not of interest, by having the grade, you have the key to a locked door should you need it.
Good grades grab attention. Related to the first statement, good grades grab the attention of scholarship evaluators, especially when the particular scholarship applied for is competitive. In scholarships with strong applications, both a compelling essay and a good GPA are required to be competitive. Good grades can also grab the attention of an employer/evaluator for work, internships, programs, and volunteer opportunities. Grades have a notional aspect that suggests positive perceptions. Good grades can inform an evaluator on work-ethic, or necessary skills that reflect that a particular individual is prepared. Furthermore, good grades, can be used as leverage. Grades can get attention which can allow an individual to negotiate its value to someone whose interest they have garnered. Think of grades as an icebreaker.
Lastly, the pursuit for good GPAs give you more out of your studies. Simply put, working hard to get a good grade gives you the secondary effect of getting more skills and experiences out of your pursuit. To reiterate, classes are a source of hard and soft skills, and the experiences that mold them. The process of achieving a good grade has positive impacts. Classes, whether they provide quantitative or qualitative skills and methods, require strategy, adjustment, strong work ethic, innovation, and creativity. Honing these through pursuit leaves you with more from your classes. This point is auxiliary, but nonetheless, its resulting impact is beneficial.
Author: Elesar Ngateb
"Even if a particular class is not of interest, by having the grade, you have the key to a locked door should you need it."
In a two-part blog post, Elesar provides an answer to what most students ask themselves, "do my grades/GPA matter?" He explains some of the positive aspects and benefits of what a good standing GPA can provide.