Op-Ed: Don’t Fall For The GPA Game

November 18, 2019

For many students, their lives center around grades. Grades seem to control the emotions of students: a bad grade means a bad mood. They control the future of students which many seem to let bog them down and this is precisely what students stress about constantly. Grades, the GPA game, class rank, college admissions, SAT scores- these all consume the lives of students and make it so apparent in their lives that often times than not, all the stress can bubble up and explode into a ball of frustration and catastrophe.

But, why do students deeply care for grades so much? It is because from a young age, we are accustomed to believe that grades mean everything and that in order to get accepted into college and have a successful career and a substantial life, we need good grades. This is true- to an extent. It can not be disproved that education is a requirement and surely, if given the chance to attend college, one should take it. An education is what paves the path for success in your life, that is undeniable. However, the strict requirement of having stellar grades is not as dire of a need as people make it out to seem and it really is not something students should stress endlessly over. We do not need perfect grades to excel in college, our careers or our lives.

It is important to attend college and obtain a degree or higher education from a decent university, but this does not mean that students must go to an Ivy League school to obtain success in their lives. In fact, Ivy League schools will only put you to a tremendous and ridiculous amount of debt once you graduate. Whether you attend Harvard or the University of Texas, you will still obtain the same degree and have the same qualifications as anyone else. The only difference is that it looks nicer on paper if it says “Rice” or “Stanford.” So, unless students are aiming for a top-tier university, stressing about having perfect grades really is not necessary.

Now, this doesn’t go to say that you should slack off. This simply means that you don’t need to cry if you get a B or two in a class. In my opinion, grades do not matter as long as you pass the class. Even if you have all C’s, you can make it up with a high SAT score and essay when you apply for college. There are thousands of students that apply to these colleges, the only way the admissions office can differentiate between two students that have the exact same GPA and classes is by your essay and other extracurricular qualifications.

Students seem to have a fear that they need to make good grades to get into college. This is debatable. Have you ever heard of someone that applied to colleges and wasn’t accepted by a single one and therefore could not go to college? No, because this rarely, rarely ever happens. There are a plethora of different colleges only in Texas. It is practically guaranteed that one of them will accept you, and if not, a college at least in the US will accept you. The fear that students have that they won’t be able to go to college and succeed if their grades are slightly below acceptable is unrealistic and not reasonable.

While having a high GPA can be a “yay” and a pat-on-the-back moment for those that are in the top 10%, GPAs are not useful for much else. The purpose of a GPA is to push you to work harder and achieve a higher average, however, is this really what it has been effectively doing? It has more commonly been sucking students into its clenches, stressing them out and pushing them for an emotional outburst if they aren’t good enough, if their score isn’t high enough. While most of these factors can be attributed to outside sources such as pressure from parents, it is still within the hands of students as to how they will react to these circumstances. More often than not, they push their limits to go as far up as they can when students really should be striving for excellence in fields more relevant to them at their age, including but not limited to: figuring out who they are as a person, their hobbies, finding their passion, exploring their career path, living life, and most importantly, simply being a teen.

Worry about your grades and future, but not to a point where it becomes too excessive. Don’t do it to a point that you become disappointed in yourself and begin to believe that getting straight A’s is the only way to make yourself happy and your parents happy, because that isn’t true. Whatever the scenario, try your best not to fall for the GPA game.