A State of College Admission 2019 survey reported that over 73% of 220 colleges ranked good grades as the top criteria for student admissions.
Bad grades meant you cannot be a doctor or lawyer.
But, why don't grade define you? The growing creator economy meant that it is now possible to make a sizeable income without good grades. What you learned in school is rarely useful in your adult life. Therefore, having certificates or achievements meant more showing your passions and true competencies.
While good grades are favored by colleges, it does not guarantee success in life.
Distribution of Grades - Bell Curve
In many education systems, the distribution of grades tried to normalize people's grades with a normal curve. The normalization creates a bunch of averages and limits people with poor grades and distinction. This meant you could be a class average even if you have shown great capability in the subject if everyone did equally well too.
Having the same exact grade as someone does not mean you are the same person. Similarly, someone with better grade does not mean they are better than you.
A teacher cannot give everyone distinction grades even if they wish. This is completely different from the real world, where a company hitting its target can reward everyone with bonuses. A teacher must rank their performer from poor to high performer in some form of grading system.
Grades Only Useful in College Admission Process
Good grades are the most important criteria in getting accepted to all colleges, with over 73% of colleges deeming grades as the main criteria for deciding admission.
Even though many other factors should be considered, like college essays and extracurricular activity positions (e.g. leadership roles), colleges still focused only on grades.
The reason is education institutions have to support institutionalized education and justify the price paid and time given for education to encourage compulsory education.
The concept of grades does not exist beyond education. Companies don't ask staff to do yearly tasks to decide their pay. Instead, performance bonuses are pegged to how well you are assessed in your work. While that is biased based on your supervisor, it showed that grades do not matter further from education.
The class assignments and homework assignments you did in a controlled school environment do not happen in real life often. There are no mock exams in life usually, and you have to manage well in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world.
Grades Do Not Matter In How Much You Make
In the scheme of life, you do not usually get paid for how hard you work. A Youtuber, like MrBeast, will be paid much more than you even if you think you are working very hard. MrBeast dropout from East Carolina University and probably made more than most East Carolina University gradutes.
The creator economy rewards people who attract traffic and viewership, which in turn, generate revenue for the company or platform. No one reports their grades before the video you are watching on Facebook, TikTok, or Youtube because grades do not matter. The art of engagement and creating valuable content does not rely on grades.
Andrew Schmidt, an entrepreneur, said on Quora:
But to get a job, or start a business, or have a good marriage, or make a good salary, etc. No, grades have almost no impact. Your work ethic, character, people skills (which aren’t taught in schools or colleges), etc., DOES actually make an impact, so focus on those things and building actual employable skills (or skills you can use to start your own business).
Do Grades Matter In The Real World
Grades don't matter, what matters is what you do with them. Besides the intelligent quotient (IQ), many people are trying to push for emotional intelligence (EQ), social quotient (SQ), and adversity quotient (AQ).
In addition to getting good grades, one must do things that are not in the textbook. These things can include such as developing leadership qualities, taking on extra responsibilities, and participating in community service. All of these qualities are important in developing into a well-rounded person, but they are not measured on a set of exams. Knowing the right people might change your life too.
The traits, abilities and aptitudes you possess that determine whether you're going to succeed in life regardless of grade point average because technology is making everyone knowledgeable. A quick Google can answer any questions. The reliable calculator had made many jobs obsolete and artificial intelligence looks to replace even more jobs in the future.
The education trends toward gearing people to technology skills which are not taught in the past.
Grades don't measure your intelligence, age doesn't define your maturity, disabilities don't define your worth and problems don't define your life. 🧠— Prof. Feynman (@ProfFeynman) May 20, 2020