Grades: all-important or just one factor?

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Photo by Mackenzie Rough

Students hurry to finish their tests before the bell. While tests like these make a major impact on a students’ GPA, just how important are those GPAs to a successful future?

Mackenzie Rough, Bear Facts Contributor

School is a big deal, and it can be easy to get worked up about it, especially since it can determine one’s success in college. But stressing over school can worsen grades, and according to Carl Krause, College Counselor at Lake Zurich High School, everybody has options.

Many students stress about their grades, which can have negative impacts on their performance according to Julie Rusniak, social worker. Not everyone can be a straight-A student, but many students believe that they have to be. The biggest stressor is often what comes after high school: college. According to Krause, grades are the most important factor when applying for college.

“The number one thing we look at is GPA. That’s the most important factor of success in college so that’s the most important factor for all colleges, is that first GPA,” Krause said.

GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a standardized measure of a person’s academic achievements. So grades are important, but is it really worth it to obsess over them?

Not according to Rusniak. “It’s always good to have a little bit of stress, because that’s what motivates you. But when it gets to be too much and overwhelming, then sometimes kids can shut down, and then that makes their grades worse,” Rusniak said.

So while it is important to do well in school, it is also important to have a balance between school and other activities. Students who are involved in other activities have a balance and do better in school than those who are not, Rusniak said.

 And according to Cassidy Kalamaras, junior, finding a balance between school and other activities is much more manageable than focusing solely on schoolwork.

“I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder, and I’ve kind of been like, ‘Okay, what can I do to cut down the amount of time I spend working,’ because I just get burnt out very easily. I have to kind of balance everything because school can be a lot, and sometimes I need a break,” Kalamaras said.

So while school can be a lot, it is crucial to keep a cool head. There are always colleges available, even for students who aren’t doing as well, or aren’t taking high level courses. Different schools have different standards, and everybody has options, according to Krause.

“We can always find a college for you, regardless of what you take,” Krause said. “And regardless of the level of classes, we can always find someplace for you. You just have to keep an open mind.”