Do Your Grades/GPA Matter?: Part 2

In the previous segment of this blog, we discussed the positive results of good grades. Good grades give you a stronger foundation to explore more options in terms of future possibilities, and garners positive attention. Lastly, the pursuit of it imparts individuals with more well-developed skills, methods, and values as a result of greater effort.

However, getting good grades are ultimately only half of the work needed to fully tap its potential benefits. GOOD GRADES DO NOT MEAN YOU CAN DO THE JOB, OR THAT YOU ARE THE BEST, AND MOST QUALIFIED. IT ONLY SUGGESTS THAT YOU CAN. Simply put, the true value of grades are negotiable.


So, let's go back to the question - do grades matter?


Good grades cannot sustain you by itself. Although good grades can grab attention, provide positive notions regarding your capacity and work ethic, and give you more options in life, its value is only reached when it is argued. When applying for competitive scholarships, grades are not the only factor used to measure an applicant. Their argumentation in an accompanying essay that explains the value of both their academic achievement and their future pursuit need to be just as strong. In a job interview, grades are attractive, but an individual must provide a clear argument that explains how their grades exemplify particular skillsets and work values needed for the job that is applied for. In applications for studies in programs in a particular school of merit, or further studies into graduate level education, statements of purpose must bolster why one’s academic position merits their acceptance. Good grades and strong GPAs are only the entranceway to a conversation regarding how your hard and soft skills resulted in that grade.

The value of grades can be further tapped by buttressing grades with tangible experiences. What experiences did you go through when working towards academic achievement that exemplifies your skills and values? In a class or project, what strategies, methodologies, and theoretical systems did you effectively use that make you an asset? What experiences and skills from internships, jobs, or volunteer assignments correlate with your academic achievement? If there is a relationship, how then can you exemplify in a clear argument how your success in academia supports your success in practical applications? What soft and hard skills are transferrable from those you learned in academia to its application outside? This arrangement also works in the opposite direction. Tangible experiences can also be strengthened through grades because you could argue how your academic accomplishment resulted in good work experiences.

Last, it is important to diversify outlets for experiences. Experience from work, extra-curriculars, volunteer opportunities, and internships provide you with avenues to hone what you learned in academia or provide you with new skills and values. These outlets could also be argued as having a positive impact on your academic success because practical applications provide important feedback to theoretical knowledge. Good grades are important, but they become more so when synthesized with experience.

The points above demonstrate that the value of a grade is realized through argumentation. Ergo, it is not enough to have the grade, because it is just as important or perhaps even more to demonstrate why that grade is of any value. In the end, the value of education needs to be expressed. Whether in a written form in a resume, essay, or cover letter, or verbally in an interview, the value is only known through strong negotiation. In that negotiation, it becomes important to provide examples, available through experiences in our activities.



Author: Elesar Ngateb

"Good grades are important, but they become more so when synthesized with experience."

In Elesar's second post of a two-part blog, he provides a more in-depth explanation to the question, "do my grades/GPA matter?". He explains that grades alone isn't enough to sustain you. It should also be accompanied by experiences.

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