Grades and scores are not everything


Students stress about their schoolwork and their grades in their computer science class.

Annie Sun, Senior Reporter

The formula to get into college is to have all A’s and get the highest SAT score, right? Well, it’s more complicated than that. 

At Burlingame, many students are ingrained with the notion that straight A’s and high test scores are the only way that they can go to college. Students feel stressed about studying and homework because they believe that every point counts. Parents often fuel this culture and place pressure on their children.

My parents are from China. In China, grades and scores are literally everything. There is one test that determines students’ entire academic futures. Students throughout China take the test on one single day at the end of their senior year, and the top colleges have score cutoffs and do not look at extracurriculars or essays. While it is understandable that they emphasize having good scores and grades, I encourage them and other parents to recognize that the American application process is viewed holistically and is more focused on the applicant’s personality rather than their academic career. 

We should instead encourage students to try their absolute best no matter what grades or scores that brings. For some people, even if they study for hours on end, they simply are not strong at test-taking and may not get an A despite their best efforts. Before we judge others for not having “perfect” grades, we must understand their circumstances and realize that everyone is different. School is not just about intelligence; it is about playing the game. It is about understanding the material and the way that tests are given in classes. For me, especially in my history classes, I understand the material that I am learning, but the tests often require applying the material, which is hard for me and others to grasp. 

When I got a B in my Advanced Placement European History class sophomore year, I was disappointed. I worked extremely hard in that class by reading every night, watching videos as a booster and reading the crash course book as a supplement. Yet when I was asked if I would retake the class if I could go back to the beginning of the year, I said yes. Though I got a B, the knowledge that I gained outweighed any grade. I learned so much about our world’s history and our country’s history and gained deeper insight into everything I believe to be true. That class challenged me and I would not give it up for anything. 

Many students have the “grade mindset” that they forget to enjoy learning. While I see their point that good grades help people get into college, if we just focus on grades instead of remembering to love learning, college and life after will not be a pleasant experience.