The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Are grades really that important?

December 8, 2016

The importance of grades weighs heavily on students anxiously asking themselves whether they are a failed test away from not getting into the college they want. Strong grades do offer greater chances of getting into certain colleges and also receiving award-based merit scholarships. This applies in particular to state universities such as Florida State University and University of Central Florida. These base their judgment students’ intellectual capacities, mainly their GPA.

“Although I don’t think they really reflect my true intelligence, grades are pretty important for me,” senior Paulina Jeanne said. “Because I want to be able to show colleges that I’m able to comprehend and apply what I learn.”

Jeanne acknowledges the harsh reality of the importance of grades, but they still do not comprise all that counts in a college application either.

Out-of-state colleges and the University of Florida have a more holistic perspective in the application process. They rely not only on grades but on test scores and other activities pursued during high school.

“UF says 25 percent should be grades, 25 percent should be test scores and 50 percent should be everything else you do in high school,” college advisor Harry Nerenberg said, “including your experiences, your outside activities and you have to do that with an essay.”

Since other activities are worth 50 percent of the application, this gives applicants the chance to shine somewhere other than in the gradebook. So go outside, volunteer somewhere, start a community service project, join a club and get involved. That is all it takes. It will show that you play a role in your community, whether in school or in your outside life.

Progress made during a student’s high school career also plays an important role in the final decision. If between freshman year and senior year, a students successfully increases his or her GPA, then colleges will see hardworking and perseverance as character traits of that person and may accept them for it.

“Working hard is the key, whether it’s your SAT, your ACT, your grades or your extracurricular activities,”Nerenberg said.

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