Your GPA doesn’t define your intelligence

Illustration by Ruqayyah Muslim | The Signal

How many times has your GPA affected for future? I bet you could count it all on the one hand.

Why does it matter? Many students grew up being told, “Your GPA is so important. Don’t have a bad GPA, or you won’t get into college.” Yet, here we are, in college, most of us struggling to keep at least the 2.0 needed to get the credit for a class. 

Anyone could study nine hours to memorize random facts to get 70% on an exam and forget all the material within a week. Our grades are not a representation of our intelligence. They are a reflection of society’s standards on how we should be graded. 

These standards do not consider that people are learning differently, and not all of us received the same education. It is time for our GPAs to stop reflecting on what we are expected to learn and start remembering our learning.

A GPA reflecting your intelligence is like a muddy puddle showing your reflection.

Growing up in the gifted, honors or Advanced Placement programs, I’ve seen some intelligent students I know end high school with lower GPAs than the on-level students. And if we are sincere, their GPAs would have been a lot lower if it weren’t for the extra points those classes added.

I was one of those students. By the time my senior year of high school came around, I was burnt out. Before that, my classmates and I treated our grades like a competition. It wasn’t about understanding the material from your classes; it was all about getting the correct answers and getting an A. 

If you finished the class with an A, you got extra points, and so on. The funny part is, those same students are the college burnouts. They never had to try. They never had to learn how to study. No one pushed them to try and get the grades they did. They just had it in them. 

Getting an A on a quiz was like riding a bike. For some, it was the easiest thing ever. For others, they kept falling. The University System is flawed in many, many ways. The grading rubric they use is just one of the flaws. 

College is hard. COVID college is even more challenging. Though this is my second COVID college semester, I feel for the students who have been dealing with this from the start. Transitioning from in-person classes, tutoring sessions and study groups to Zoom meetings, online conference hours and YouTube videos is a significant change. 

If many students are like me, we aren’t getting used to it. Every one of us learns differently, and most of us aren’t meant for online classes. So grades drop, motivation plummets and sooner or later, we drop out. 

The world has adjusted so much to incorporate the COVID era into our daily lives. But we aren’t learning. Whether we are college burnouts, COVID college students or just straight 4.0 students, we deserved to be graded on a better scale. 

The grading rubric is outdated. The world is evolving, and it’s time to stop using students’ society-approved GPAs and start using the skills and knowledge they have to offer as a deciding factor.