Students use GPA every day of their academic careers, and yet their opinions are often overlooked when it comes to how the system works. What are the student’s views on GPA? Does it affect their lives drastically? Do they like it?
For this article, four different students were interviewed. These four students all have different GPAs and viewpoints on the role that GPA plays in their lives. The questions asked, as well as their responses:
Student 1: A 3.9
Student 2: A 3.8.
Student 3: A 3.5.
Student 4: A 2.5.
Student 1: I put a lot of pressure on myself to have a high GPA.
Student 2: I feel a lot of pressure to have a high GPA.
Student 3: I usually put a lot of pressure on myself to have a somewhat respectable GPA, but luckily my parents are not that strict about it.
Student 4: Yes, I feel a lot of pressure.
Student 1: 20 or more hours.
Student 2: I study about 20 hours a week.
Student 3: If there are a bunch of tests on that week, then I spend about two hours studying a day.
Student 4: Around an hour a day.
Student 1: Around 2 hours.
Student 2: I get assigned 2-3 hours of homework a day.
Student 3: It fluctuates, but one to two hours.
Student 4: Typically one to one and a half hours.
Student 1: Studying gives me less time to hang out with my friends.
Student 2: Studying for sure clashes with my social life. There have been times where I’ve had to cancel group outings with friends and simple hangouts to study for really big tests coming up, or lots of homework, things like that.
Student 3: Usually studying does not clash with my social life, but definitely around finals time it does.
Student 4: Most of the time no, unless I have a big test.
Student 1: Studying does clash with my community service, but I think that’s just the way it is and we all are really busy.
Student 2: I do sports and community service. It doesn’t clash with them but having both of them makes it difficult to stay on top of things. It definitely ensures a lot of stress. When you go home, you have to really cram.
Student 3: Not really personally, but I know for sure that other people have busy schedules where activities clash with studying.
Student 4: Yes.
Student 1: I get pressure from others to have a high GPA because ISB is a really competitive school and if you don’t get a certain GPA, you feel you’re not as smart or as able.
Student 2: There’s definitely this feeling that having a higher GPA will ensure a better social standing for you. This comes from your peers, your parents and your teachers. I think having a high GPA means you’ll be more respected, and perceived as smarter amongst your peers. And if you have a high GPA, it means your parents will be more proud of you and your teachers will realize what you are capable of.
Student 3: I used to, yes, but it really is true that GPA isn’t everything. The thing is that ISB is a very competitive school so I think it’s inevitable that you will feel pressured to have a higher GPA.
Student 4: Yes.
Student 1: Having a high GPA means that I have done the best that I can. I feel accomplished.
Student 2: It ensures a better feeling and a lot more self-confidence. You’re seen as smart and well respected.
Student 3: I think of it as a number that somewhat reflects your learning capabilities, but not your intelligence overall.
Student 4: Feeling relatively smart.
Student 1: Having a low GPA means that I haven’t worked hard enough, because I think GPA is not about intelligence, it’s just the amount of effort you put into your work.
Student 2: It’s the worst feeling ever. Anything below a 3.5 to me is terrible, and it makes me feel bad about myself. I’ll start working really hard and just trying to do anything to bring it back up.
Student 3: Usually it just means that I have slacked off in my academics, and I’ll feel stressed about it until it goes back up.
Student 4: Not putting in effort.
Student 1: GPA is good in terms of having a goal to work towards and it’s a way to measure and categorize the different levels when you get into college. The cons are that not all people are academically oriented. Some are artistic or athletic, and GPA does not measure that. GPA sometimes isn’t accurate because some students may take easier courses and get higher GPAs while others take tougher courses and get lower GPAs.
Student 2: GPA is good in the way that you get to know where you are and how you’re doing in school. It gives you a goal to work towards. GPA is bad in the way that it puts a lot of pressure on students. It makes us feel really bad when we don’t have a high GPA and can make us feel less motivated or stupid at times. It also tends to really categorise and group students into the categories of “smart” and “not smart”, and I don’t think those categories are accurate for everybody.
Student 3: It’s good in that it provides a rough outline of your learning capabilities, but it’s sad that so many students are so fixated on it.
Student 4: You’re able to see how you’re doing overall, but you aren’t necessarily focusing on effort but only the grade.
The stress to get a high GPA is real, as all of these students have shown in their answers. No matter if you have a 3.9 or a 2.5, students will put pressure on themselves and, sometimes unknowingly on others around them.
This article has investigated students viewpoints on GPA and how it affects their everyday lives. Part 3, the last section of the GPA investigation, will look into how teachers and counselors view GPA.