The GPA craze

As first semester comes to an end, many students struggle to reach or maintain their 4.0 GPAs. But to what extent is this concept of a perfect GPA evolving into an unhealthy obsession?

There certainly are reasons why a 4.0 leads to success. A 4.0 with a valedictorian title makes a student stand out when applying for college. In fact, studies show that a higher high school GPA correlates to a higher chance of passing college and increased chances in finding and keeping a job.

The desire for a 4.0 fosters detrimental academic and social habits. Students compete for a better grade to look “unique” to colleges. As they advance up higher-level classes, the amount of tension increases. Cheating on tests, copying assignments and other methods become the norm for maintaining a high grade. Coupled with pressure from parents, achieving a 4.0 becomes a material goal: a fight for a standing. As a sophomore, I’ve seen two friends hold a grudge against each other simply because one scored higher on an important test than the other.

As a result, through our “fight,” we fail to see what the major takeaway of achieving a high GPA. Yes, it’s a prestigious title , but, ultimately, it’s also an indicator academic success–how thoroughly we’ve learned the material, how we can apply it to our everyday lives and the ability to succeed in higher education and future careers.

Even if some of us acknowledge the goal is academic success, are we truly upholding it? In reality, we are using a positive-label to deny the fact that we will do anything for a that perfect 4.0. Sure, the constant “fight” to the best may motivate students to work harder, but we must remember that we can’t always be perfect. We all have our unique talents and personalities. Besides, the research linking a high GPA with future success is not true in all cases. Being valedictorian doesn’t guarantee an Ivy League acceptance letter.

In the troubling and often stressful high school environment, the thought of a perfect 4.0 harms and blinds us in many ways. Looking into these ways may provide explanations to our “GPA craze” and, perhaps, further benefit our future life.

By Phillip Leung, Opinion editor
Photo by Isabella Leung