Grades can only get you so far

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Grades can only get you so far

Matthew Norwood, Staff Reporter

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Everyone is always worried about grades. Late grades, great grades, everybody hates grades. Nevertheless, they are an important part of what we do in high school. Colleges can’t help but wonder if you actually know your stuff. If you don’t, why would they let you in? Without some understanding of math or English, what guarantee is there that you will do well in college?

Sometimes, though, people sacrifice more helpful things for the sake of grades. Everyone is always complaining about their workload, claiming they are “too busy” for this and “too busy” for that. Students load up on AP classes, hoping to pass as many as they can and get the grades they want.

What students miss out on, then, is extracurriculars. There happens to be one thing colleges like more than you knowing your stuff. THAT is being able to apply said knowledge. Proving you can go out and make a mark in a national competition with well-rounded goals will do you much more than a 5 on an AP test. Even if you figure you aren’t good enough to excel at an extracurricular, that may very well be because you haven’t tried.

No student is perfect, and everyone should try to understand their limits. If you aren’t good at math, signing up for AP Calculus BC shouldn’t be your choice course. Every AP test you fail makes it just another class, so the goal should be to enter AP classes you are confident in passing while making sure you branch out and try extracurriculars.

Colleges love to know that they create real results. The best way to ensure this is to display skills for the real-world before you enter college. Knowing you could be an actor or athlete or politician on a high level is more promising than proving you can recite the world’s capitals. The college board website states “the things you do in your free time reveal a lot about you — in ways that grades and test scores can’t. Your accomplishments outside the classroom show what you’re passionate about and that you have qualities valued by colleges.”

Typical colleges list five things they look for in a student: dedication, leadership, balance, true involvement, and specialization. All five are easily linked to extracurriculars, but one that stands out is specialization. Knowing that colleges EXPECT you to be able to excel in an area, thus preparing you for your specific future field, helps many understand that perfect grades won’t equate to a perfect college admittance resume. Just proving you have the grades to succeed in one career area, with the extracurriculars proving you can apply that to the real world, is a sure-fire way to make a mark on its own.

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