In college, do good grades really matter that much?
You’re heading to college this autumn, and you can’t wait to start. If you’re living on campus, this will likely be your first time experiencing independence. It’s a brand-new world. You’ve bought all the (very pricey) textbooks, equipped your room, and a couple new flash drives. You’re prepared to move now.
But the workload and number of assignments will swiftly rise. The college grind will begin. Papers and exams need to be written. A lot of reading assignments and group projects need to be planned.
To be honest, that requires a lot of work
On the other hand, your time, energy, and attention will be divided among all the pleasurable components of college life, including friends, parties, sporting events, movies, coffee shops, and just hanging around.
You’ll quickly understand that earning good grades in college isn’t a given. Even if you were a top achiever in the classroom in high school, college will be a completely different experience. Each lesson will require much more of you.
There won’t be any automatic A grades. Furthermore, you won’t be able to survive only on bluff or charm. This game is very different.
At some point, you might start to wonder if working hard to earn good marks is actually worthwhile. Wouldn’t a “B” be just as good as a “A”? Or, will getting a few “C” grades truly ruin my life? After all, getting those decent scores starts to feel like effort as the semester goes on.
It’s normal to wonder if the entire endeavor was worthwhile. I’ve instructed tens of thousands of students on colleges in Dallas readiness, and I usually use this illustration in workshops to emphasize how important grades are.
Think about banging on a door you really want to walk through. Consider how appealing, stunning, and important the door is. Even the entrance to your future could be there. Then picture someone flinging open the door and looking at you before slamming it in your face.
Not exactly a happy thought, is it? It’s unpleasant when doors crash in one’s face. But that is precisely what can happen to you if you have below-average grades in college. You might find that by deciding to accept “Cs” or even “Bs,” your alternatives have been substantially reduced.
Here is one of many comparable examples from my time spent dealing with college students at Georgia State University.
Chris excelled academically. He had made it plain that he wanted to teach history. He liked history and was almost ready to declare it as his major. But Chris abruptly made the decision to go to medical school in his junior year. It was a substantial change.
If you have any knowledge of the application process for medical schools, you are aware of how crucial good grades are. Candidates with poor grades have no chance because competition is so stiff for the available vacancies.
Chris had the good fortune of earning strong marks during his first two years of college, so he was in good shape when he decided to apply to highly competitive medical schools.
This is the main idea, and it is very important. When Chris left for college, no one (even Chris) knew that he would enroll in medical school. But it was, and he is currently a doctor.
If his academic achievement had been below average or even ordinary, consider what would have happened. He would not have likely been admitted by any medical school.
His new goal of becoming a doctor would not have been attainable
- Indeed, grades are important.
- The takeaway from this is to keep your options open by keeping a strong GPA. Doors will smash in your face if you get a poor grade.
What the Data Show
Chris wasn’t the only student who switched his college major. In fact, some research indicate that he was the majority.
More than half of college students, according to the most current surveys, switch majors throughout their time in school. Numerous changes have occurred. You must have friends or family members who, after enrolling in college and beginning to consider their possibilities, drastically changed their ambitions.
You are extremely likely to wind up in a very different field from where you imagined you’d be since over half of college students change their majors, and subsequently their life goals.
Additionally, it could be a field where entry is difficult. When they left for college, several of the young lawyers we know had no notion they would want to attend law school. Probably so do you.
Fortunately, their grades were strong enough to aid in their admittance to law school rather than hinder it. (Or shut the door to the law school in their faces!)
Another student that we are familiar with made the decision to attend veterinary school after college during her junior year. Her grades during her freshman and sophomore years weren’t great, and vet schools are incredibly competitive. She failed to enter and was forced to abandon her new objective.
She felt incredibly let down. This kid was undoubtedly intelligent enough to flourish academically in college, but at the moment, it didn’t matter to her.
It’s crucial to understand that your odds of changing your plans, goals, and interests once you begin college are at least 50%. Don’t let subpar grades shut vital doors in your future because there is no way to anticipate where the road will take you up front. Even if you can no longer see those doors.
Other Motives for Why You Value Good Grades
The biggest incentive to work hard in college to maintain your grades, in our opinion, is to keep your options open for the future. But there are also other significant factors.
- The first and most obvious is that you won’t be able to continue in college if your grades are bad. The simplest explanation is that maintaining good marks keeps you in school. You’re expelled if you obtain bad grades. High school is significantly different from this. Poor academic performance in college will immediately result in academic warning, probation, and suspension. Any of these scenarios would be extremely detrimental to you.
- If you are receiving a scholarship, you probably need to keep your GPA at a particular level to keep it. For thousands of students in Georgia, the state-sponsored HOPE scholarship is crucial, yet every year, many students lose the money because their grades have declined. Most scholarships have requirements for renewal, and maintaining good grades is frequently one of them.
- You might also be able to enroll in advanced honors classes with good grades, which have a number of significant advantages. First off, these popular classes are frequently taught by the greatest teachers. Second, the environment in the classroom can be more engaging and lively because you’ll be in the company of motivated students. You’ll meet new pals among the top college students.