Beating honor roll anxiety

Stop putting unnecessary academic stress on yourself

Melina Khan, Editor-in-Chief

A quick Google search on “how to get straight A’s” will turn up a WikiHow guide with suggestions like giving a good effort, being organized and even getting a good night’s sleep. But most 4.0 GPA students will tell you it’s not that easy. It’s also not necessary.

The famous saying goes: C’s get degrees. While cheesy, it’s true. At Quinnipiac University, undergraduate students must maintain at least a cumulative 2.0 grade point average, which equates to a C letter grade, to be in academic good standing with the university. 

While a C grade is considered passing, and in turn the average standard to achieve, students tend to strive for above average. A 2018 study from the American Psychological Association found that perfectionism among college students increased an average of 20% between 1989 and 2016. 

I have often found myself within this group that strives for perfection when it comes to grades. As a high school student, I was told how important getting good grades was in order to get into college. When I got to college, it turned into being told I needed good grades to get a good job. 

But the reality is, a letter on a transcript doesn’t accurately reflect how valuable a person’s skills and knowledge are. What makes someone a valuable team member or successful college student transcends just classroom comprehension. Things like life experience, sociability and productivity are more worthwhile in any internship or job setting.  

Moreover, fewer employers value college grades during the hiring process nowadays. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that in 2022, 46% of employers use GPAs to screen hiring candidates, more than 20% less than in 2018. 

While a high GPA might not matter for employers, it does affect whether students receive academic honors upon graduation. Quinnipiac, like most universities, offers the latin honors of cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude for students who graduate with at least a 3.5 GPA. 

The prestige of being able to say you achieved such an accomplishment may be appealing to most students, but it’s not as common as you might think. Student Assembly estimates 30% of most graduating college classes graduate with honors — less than half of graduates. 

While it’s unclear how many students graduate with honors from Quinnipiac, what does matter, (and probably why we’re all here in the first place) is to get a job. Quinnipiac has consistently been ranked by Zippia as the top university in the country for job placement post graduation at 96.1%. That means that nearly every graduate, whether they graduate with honors, or with a 4.0 GPA, still finds a job post-graduation. 

Even though the status of achieving a 4.0 GPA or Latin honors matters to a lot of students, the reality is that the grades you get in college won’t matter in ten, five or even one year after you graduate. While being in the thick of classes and surrounded by peers, it is natural to feel the pressure to want to do well, and it’s good to. But doing well is not just limited to getting what you think are “good” grades. Doing well in college should be tied to greater things – like the friendships you form or the memories you make.

These reasons don’t justify slacking off or being apathetic toward your grades, especially because of the financial and personal investment that goes into pursuing higher education. But as a student, especially one at a prestigious university like Quinnipiac, understanding that success goes beyond just a numerical accumulation will allow you to better enjoy your college experience without unnecessary academic pressure.